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Portsmouth support to feed children over the school holiday

In the UK today, 4.2 million children live in poverty. 2.5 million children live in “food insecure” households – without access to the food they need to learn, play and grow.

On Wednesday, Conservative MPs blocked a Labour plan to provide Free School Meals over the school holidays, that would have ensured the poorest children in our society have at least one healthy and nutritious meal a day.

Stephen voted for this plan for the most vulnerable in Portsmouth, sadly the Government did not.

Since then, there has been an outpouring of people in our city looking for ways they can help children who don’t have enough food, and from parents struggling to make sure that their children have enough.

Stephen Morgan MP said: 

“I want to thank all those who are helping Portsmouth families at this challenging time for our city.

With the number of free school meals rising again, sharply to over 7,000 in Portsmouth alone, this has been a growing issue for some time. The steep rise will only get worse.

With Government failing, we will work together here in Portsmouth to ensure everyone has the support they need”.

Below are just some initiatives and charities based in Portsmouth, that help provide the basics to those who need it, and are always looking for volunteers or donations to keep their vital work going.

No food bank voucher needed:

The Life House
Address: 153 Albert Road, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 0JW
Services: Serves Breakfast / Brunch each Wednesday from 9am / Serves Hot Dinner each Thursday from 6pm
Food parcel if available
Opening times: Every Thursday 8pm-6pm Wednesday morning 9am-11am

Free My Meal – Portsmouth
Address: Private Facebook group set up by residents https://www.face book.com/groups /freemymealports mouth/
Services: Group intends to connect free meals with recipients. Recipients looking for a meal to feed their family during this time of hardship.
Opening times: Ongoing

The Lord John Russell – Food Bank
Address: 12 Albert Road, Southsea, PO5 2SH
Service: Food bank drive on Monday (26/10/20) to support the Life House and those who haven’t got enough on their plates
Opening times: Monday (26/10/20)

St Margaret’s Community Church
Address: Highland Road, PO4 9DD
Service: 2 day food parcel
Food needed: Cereals, tinned & packet soup, pasta and pasta sauce, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, crisps, biscuits, UHT milk, long life juice
Opening times: Monday, Wednesday, Friday (8am-11am for donations, 10am-11am for people needing food

Haven Community Centre
Address: Lake Road, PO1 4HA
Service: No voucher needed for first 3 visits 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Tuesday 1-3pm and Friday 10am-12pm

Food bank voucher needed:

From PCC website (https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/services/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-residents-coronavirus-infor mation/work-and-money-coronavirus-information/):

Advice Portsmouth – the drop-in centre is closed. For advice, ring 023 92794 340, text 07789 550593, email ​advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk​ or contact via ​Facebook
Citizens Advice Help To Claim (for advice on new Universal Credit claims) – there is currently no face to face advice, so for advice ring 0800 144 8 444 or use the ​online webchat
City council tenants – ​ring your housing office​ for money advice
Housing association tenants – contact your customer service team for money advice

Harbour Church

Address: St. George’s Square, PO1 3AT
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Monday 11am-12pm, Tuesday 11am-12pm, Wednesday 11am-12pm and Thursday 11am-12pm and 4-6pm

King’s Church Hall
Address: Fraser Road Southsea PO5 1EE
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Monday 12-2pm Wednesday 12-2pm Friday 12-2pm

North End Baptist Church
Address: Powerscourt Road Portsmouth, PO2 7JH
Service: Food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Tuesday 5-6pm and Thursday 1-3pm

Paulsgrove Baptist Church
Address: 1 Woofferton Road Portsmouth, PO6 4DW
Service: Food bank voucher required, 3-day food parcel
Opening times: Thursday 12-2pm

Family Church Caring Hands
Address: Empower Centre, 83-87 Kingston Road, PO2 7DX
Service: Caring Hands food bank voucher or email referral required, 3-day food parcel, Home delivery preferred
Opening times: Thursday 10.30am-12.30pm

If you can please make a donation to Portsmouth Foodbanks at the following supermarkets: 

  • Tesco Extra (Pompey Centre Fratton) – Front of store near exit
  • Tesco Extra (North Harbour) – Front of store near exit
  • Waitrose, Southsea – End of tills

 

 

 

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Stephen Morgan votes to end holiday hunger whilst neighbouring MPs vote against

Responding to the Government voting down Labour’s motion in the House of Commons to extend free school meals during holidays for children in need, Stephen Morgan MP has called for Tory MPs to ‘reflect again’ after they voted against the measure to support the most vulnerable in society, unlike the city MP who voted in support of the plan.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“For me, politics is about making sure people have a roof over their head, families have food on the table and that they know support for their children is there when they need it.
Yesterday, those who voted with the government, denied families and their children of that. Here in Portsmouth, that’s over seven thousand children, and rising.
I will continue to hold the government to account on this, but I really urge other MPs in our region who voted otherwise to seriously reflect again on what the most vulnerable in our communities need”.
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Stephen Morgan MP backs national campaign ‘Love our Colleges’ week

Stephen Morgan MP has backed national campaign ‘Love our Colleges’ and has urged the people of Portsmouth to recognise and celebrate the value that they bring to education and the wider community.

Colleges Week 2020 is the third colleges week celebration since the launch of the #LoveOurColleges campaign in 2018.

Association of Colleges (AoC) represents nearly 93% of the 2381 further education and sixth form colleges in England, and according to Ofsted, 82% of colleges across the country have been graded as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ (August 2019).

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, commented,

“I’m delighted to be backing this campaign and I urge all of the people of Portsmouth to both recognise and celebrate the tremendous value our colleges bring.

In the fallout of the coronavirus crisis, people equipped with the skills acquired from attending our colleges will be of critical importance to our economic recovery.

I want to thank all the teachers and additional support staff for their work in supporting our local students.”

Mr Morgan has been a vocal supporter of the work and value that colleges bring to the City of Portsmouth, and this month met with UTC Portsmouth (specialising in engineering) and Portsmouth College last month, to find out more about their recent work and the challenges they are facing.

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City MP calls for new MoD duty to support forces personnel

This week Stephen Morgan MP argued for a new MoD duty to support forces personnel who are subject to investigations or litigation after overseas operations.

The Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South and Shadow Armed Forces Minister argued for the change in parliament this week, who wants to secure this change in the Overseas Operations Bill, to make the legislation better following widespread criticism.

Mr Morgan, commented,

“I’m proud to have led the opposition’s Bill committee team through this stage of the Overseas Operations Bill, and I am glad we have been able to raise this important issue at this stage.

“I believe it is vital that the MoD face up to its proper duty of care to our Armed Forces personnel and their families, and provide the support and guidance that they require when it is needed.

“Labour is working to build a constructive consensus on the changes needed so this Bill does more to protect British service personnel and less to protect the MoD.”

The Shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey MP, also added,

“Personnel tied up in long-running investigations or legal action have told me they felt cast adrift by the MoD. I want to make the MoD face up to its proper duty of care to our Armed Forces personnel and their families”.

Expert witnesses giving evidence to the Commons committee on the Bill last week confirmed that troops and veterans who are accused of misconduct are given next to no legal or welfare support from the MoD throughout the investigations, which in some cases have taken years.

Hilary Meredith [Director of Hilary Meredith Solicitors, a legal firm that represents the forces] told MPs:

Parliament had an inquiry into what support they were given. Basically, there was none.”

Others also criticised the Bill for doing more to protect the MoD than service personnel, by placing a hard six-year block on civil claims from troops against the Ministry if they are injured overseas.

Royal British Legion Director General Charles Byrne confirmed his view of the Bill to MPs:

“I think it is protecting the MOD, rather than the service personnel”

Labour proposed today at committee a new ‘duty of care’ clause in the Bill which forces the MoD to set a new standard for legal and wellbeing support given to personnel and veterans under investigation or litigation. The clause requires the Defence Secretary to publish, every year, any failures to meet this standard and the action required to improve shortcomings.

Stephen Morgan MP has consistently committed to protecting and improving the welfare of service personnel, and has pledged to continue to do so through the final stages of the Bill and beyond.

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Remembrance Sunday: City MP backs call for doorstep two-minute silence

Stephen Morgan MP has joined calls including by the Royal British Legion for a doorstep two-minute silence, giving people a new way to honour our fallen heroes on Remembrance Sunday 2020.

Remembrance Sunday will look very different this year, as social distancing means many parades and memorials have been called off.

At 11am on Remembrance Sunday (which is 8 November this year), people around the country will be encouraged to stand on their doorstep for a two-minute silence.

The aim of the initiative will allow people to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, while ensuring that everybody stays safe.

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

“This year we will not be able to come together on Remembrance Sunday in the same way we would usually, to stand together to remember the millions of people from across the United Kingdom, and from across the world, who sacrificed so much to keep us safe.

I’m delighted to support this campaign, backed by the Royal British Legion, that will ensure that we can together honour those who have paid the price for our security, whilst also ensuring we can do so safely.

I urge all the people of Portsmouth to step forward and remember those who have served or made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mr Morgan has continued to encourage the city council to do all it can to allow people to safely mark Remembrance in the city. He has been pushing the government to issue guidance to local bodies for Remembrance Sunday 2020.

The leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer MP, has also joined the Royal British Legion and others in backing the initiative.

 

 

 

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City MP calls on the Government to fund free school meals throughout the holiday

Stephen Morgan MP has called on the government to extend free school meals in the school holidays, including the upcoming October half term and Christmas, as part of a Labour campaign to ensure that no child goes hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Labour had previously given Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak 72 hours to change their position and provide this support. With the deadline expired, the Party is forcing a Commons vote on the issue.

In Portsmouth alone over 6,500 children are at risk of going hungry over the holidays as the government withdraws support for the provision of free school meals.

The October half term comes as millions of families face a furlough cliff-edge that could see jobs across the country at risk, at the same time as millions of families face tighter restrictions.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Millions of families face the prospect of losing their livelihoods because the government has lost control of the virus.

It’s sink-or-swim plans for support could leave more than one million children at risk of going hungry over the school holidays, including many here in Portsmouth.

Now is the time to act. I have taken a range of actions on this and will continue to hold the government to account on this issue.”

 

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Black History Month: Portsmouth South MP calls for Black History to be added to the curriculum all year round

Following action taken earlier this year by the Portsmouth South representative, Stephen Morgan MP has today urged the government again to include Black History in the school curriculum all year round.

As part of efforts to mark Black History Month in the House of Commons, Members from across the House highlighted issues of racism and discrimination and called on the government to do more during a backbench debate.

A debate in recognition of Black History Month has not taken place in the House of Commons for five years. Over the past few months issues of race and discrimination have been at the forefront of public opinion following multiple Black Lives Matter demonstrations which took place in every region in England throughout June and July.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Much more needs to be done to tackle racism and discrimination in society, and I am committed to actively working with others to end injustice and inequality affecting communities in Portsmouth.

This year we have seen Black, Asian and minority ethnic people disproportionately affected by Covid-19 death rates and the economic crisis.

Teaching Black British history in schools would be an important step towards ending the structural racism that holds people back and creating a society where everyone’s contributions are recognised and celebrated. I made that point to the Minister earlier this year and regrettably Government has not taken this issue seriously.

Whilst I welcome the backbench debate today on tackling racism and discrimination, it is high time Ministers hear our concerns and take action”.

Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Marsha De Cordova MP added:

“In the context of a growing Black Lives Matter movement that is highlighting racial injustices across the globe, Black history must be taught all year round, as part of a truly diverse school curriculum that includes and inspires all young people from all backgrounds.

Black history is British history and it’s a disgrace that the Government won’t even review the curriculum to get this right.”

 

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Failing Test and Trace system has left a quarter of a million Covid-19 contacts untraced

New analysis by Labour has revealed that the Government’s disastrous Test & Trace system has failed to trace almost 250,000 close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in England.

The analysis, verified by the House of Commons Library, reveals a deeply flawed contact tracing system unable to handle the increase in Covid-19 cases as the country enters a second wave. It shows that last week alone, almost 80,000 close contacts of people who tested positive were not reached and notified.

A contact is defined as someone who has come into close contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. Reaching 80% of close contacts is considered one of the key means of slowing transmission of Covid-19.

Yet Labour’s analysis shows that the Government’s contact tracing is going backwards across England, with just over half of close contacts (57.7%) reached last week. For the first time since the weekly Test & Trace figures were published, Labour found that the 80% target was missed in every single local authority and English region.

In the worst-affected regions, the failures of the system mean tens of thousands of people who were in close contact with someone who tested positive were not reached and told to self-isolate last week. In the North West, over 26,000 people were not contacted, with over 14,000 people in Yorkshire and the Humber.

On 9th September, the Prime Minister announced ‘Operation Moonshot’, promising a Test and Trace system which would “allow people to lead more normal lives, without the need for social distancing.”  Labour’s figures show that in the four weeks since that statement, over three quarters of local authorities saw their contact tracing rates decline.

The revelations raise further questions about the UK’s tracing system, already under scrutiny due to the Conservative government’s choice of designing a centralised, privatised system contracted out to Serco and Sitel. SAGE minutes from 21st September and published this week highlight how the billions put into the Test and Trace system has only had a “marginal” impact on slowing infection rates.

With some local councils reaching almost 100% of contacts, Labour has called for contact tracing to be handed over to them as part of a two-to-three week circuit break – designed to reverse the trend of infections and hospital admissions and “to rectify some of the mistakes the Government has made.”

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Government must get a grip of the failings of the test and trace system and that means the Prime Minister must act now to reverse the trends we are now seeing.

That is why Labour is calling for a short, sharp circuit break to fix testing, protect the NHS and save lives.” 

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Rachel Reeves MP added:

“We are at a decisive moment in our efforts to tackle coronavirus, and these figures are a new low for a Test and Trace system on the verge of collapse.

Tests are taking too long, leaving NHS and key workers vulnerable. And the abysmal contact tracing system has failed to reach a quarter of a million close contacts of people with the virus. The government is wasting hundreds of millions on a system that doesn’t seem to function or even use basic common sense.

We’re are beyond the tipping point with the Test & Trace system. Without our local councils working day in day out to pick up the pieces, contact tracing would all have but collapsed”.

 

 

 

 

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Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

A small number of constituents have got in touch with me over recent days about the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill currently being debated in Parliament.

As this Bill has received some media attention, I thought it would be helpful for all Portsmouth people to have some information about this and Labour’s views on the matters this legislation attempts to deal with.

This Bill is about “covert human intelligence sources” – undercover agents – who are working to disrupt some of the vilest crimes imaginable, including terrorism, violent drug gangs, serious and organised crime and child sexual exploitation.

It’s vital that our security services are able to disrupt this activity, prevent further crime and bring people to justice. Since March 2017, MI5 and Counter Terror Police have together thwarted 27 terror attacks.

It cannot be right, though, that this has been happening in the shadows and without being subject to a clear legal framework or robust accountability. I believe this activity should be in law, with strong safeguards.

The CHIS Bill is not perfect, but it is an improvement on the status quo. Without it, undercover sources would either not be able to operate – therefore removing a vital tool for the security services to prevent very serious crimes – or would continue to operate in the shadows, away from the legal oversight.

Crucial to these safeguards is the fact that the Human Rights Act is on the face of the Bill. This means that no criminal authorisation can go beyond its limits, in effect this prohibits murder, torture and sexual violence. As the Bill continues to progress through Parliament, next in the House of Lords, Labour will also argue for even stronger protections.

As this Bill does not have retrospective power, it does not impact upon the search for justice for the wrongs of the past. The Bill does not impact on the legitimate work of trade unions. The 2016 Investigatory Powers Act, contains significant safeguards that prevents interference with legitimate trade union activity: the Labour Party secured changes to the Bill including Section 20, which is a clear protection for Trade Unions.

The last Labour Government banned the practice of blacklisting and a future Labour Government will build upon that and stand beside those campaigning for justice. The next Labour Government will ensure the release of papers for both Shrewsbury 24 and the Cammell Laird shipyard workers. The next Labour Government will also order a full public inquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984 and its aftermath. We stand with the victims of the terrible, disgraceful ‘spy cops’ scandal. Labour is committed to implementing the recommendations of the Mitting Inquiry.

I will continue to work with others to press the Government on vital safeguards, we will put the public’s safety first as part of our commitment to Labour’s role in keeping individuals, families and our country safe.

Stephen Morgan MP

 

 

 

 

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‘Government must fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus’ says Portsmouth MP

Responding to news that the Covid-19 infection rate has doubled in Portsmouth from 43.4/100,000 to 94/100,000 in seven days, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has said latest Government restrictions won’t be enough to get control of the crisis.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Our city and our country are at a decisive moment in our efforts to tackle coronavirus with the numbers across Britain and here in Portsmouth moving in the wrong direction.

With Government losing control of the virus, losing control of the message and is no longer following scientific advice, the measures it has set out in recent weeks are harming the economy and failing to suppress the virus. That’s why another course is needed, and why I back calls for a national reset.

Labour is calling for a national two-three week circuit break that will give us a chance to fix testing, protect the NHS and get control of the virus.

The Prime Minister knows his latest restrictions won’t be enough. He knows he will have to impose harsher restrictions. Portsmouth people can’t wait for Mr Johnson to catch up – he must act now”.