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City MP to back binding vote on Emergency Budget for struggling families

Stephen Morgan MP is set to back a binding vote, forced by Labour, calling for the government to bring forward an Emergency Budget to address the cost-of-living crisis, and to urgently start tackling the low growth leaving the UK economy exposed.

The Official Opposition has repeatedly highlighted how low growth and now stagflation are leaving Britain more exposed to the cost-of-living crisis rippling across the country.

With figures released this morning showing the highest levels of inflation for 40 years, the party is urgently calling on the government to create a more pro-growth, pro-business environment post-Brexit, where higher productivity and more private investment is leveraged in to help Britain lead the pack globally.

Labour has said its plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain; to fix the holes in the government’s patchwork Brexit deal; and its Climate Investment Pledge to decarbonise the economy and create good jobs across the country is vital for creating more certainty, boosting businesses and stimulating growth.

It comes after recent news that the Chancellor’s most expensive business tax break of all time – the super deduction – costs more than the investment it brings in.

Labour’s amendment will be voted on during the Queen’s Speech debate on Wednesday. Unlike how the government treats opposition day debates, MPs are required to vote on the amendment.

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

“Our city and the country face a cost-of-living crisis, and a growth crisis.

“Wages are being squeezed, our tax system is unfair and there is no plan for the future of our economy. None of this is inevitable but a consequence of government policies and Conservative choices.

“Labour has a new vision for a fairer and more prosperous economy. That’s why the Conservatives must back our motion today, not just for them to come forward with an Emergency Budget to tackle the cost-of-living crisis in Portsmouth, but to set out the plan Britain deserves to get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

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Shadow Schools Minister: Government fails to deliver for Portsmouth’s children

Stephen Morgan MP has warned that the government is failing to deliver for children in Portsmouth with ‘no plan, no ambition and no vision’ for their learning or futures, as the government’s proposed Schools Bill ‘falls short’.

The government’s proposed Schools Bill, announced in last week’s Queen’s Speech did not include a plan to drive-up standards in the classroom or turn around opportunities for over 200,000 children who live in areas with no good or outstanding schools.

In his statement on the Queen’s Speech Boris Johnson failed to mention children, suggesting his government’s priorities lie elsewhere.

Following publication of their strategy for schools, the government last month admitted that most schools already hit their new target for the length of the school day, while the Prime Minister has previously admitted that the evidence for lengthening the school day was “not as good as it could have been”.

In September, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer set out Labour’s determination to drive-up standards for all schools with the most ambitious school improvement programme for a generation. Labour’s plan would include getting 6,500 new teachers into our schools, alongside embedding careers advice, work experience and digital skills in every child’s learning so young people leave education ready for work and ready for life, equipped with the skills they need for the future.

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

“Once again we have a smoke and mirrors announcement from a Conservative government that has simply run out of ideas. 

“Their proposed Schools Bill is looking backwards showing no plan, no ambition and no vision for Portsmouth’s and the country’s children.

“Labour is focused on making a difference for children in the classroom and throughout their lives. We would be delivering the trained staff our schools need because the success of teachers enables the success of our children.”

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

“After two years of unprecedented chaos and disruption to children’s education, the Conservatives are obsessing over structures instead of improving children’s experience in the classroom.

“Their Bill contains no plan to support children’s pandemic recovery. No plan to improve teaching and tackle the exodus of school staff from our classrooms. No plan to ensure more young people gain essential qualifications. No plan to give children the broad education that young people, parents and employers want to see. No plan, no ambition, no vision for our children.

“Labour has been listening to parents, pupils and school staff. We would be delivering our ambitious Children’s Recovery Plan and getting on with delivering plans for 6,500 new teachers filling skills gaps across the profession alongside embedding careers advice, work experience and digital skills for every child so they get a brilliant education which equips them with the skills they need for work and for life.”

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Cost of living: Portsmouth MP to vote for windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits

Stephen Morgan MP is set to vote with Labour on its motion for a one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producers’ excess profits, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to grow.

Labour’s amendment will be voted on during the Queen’s Speech debate on Tuesday. Unlike how the Government treats opposition day debates, MPs are required to vote on the amendment.

Labour first called for the windfall tax on 9 January, to fund a VAT cut on home energy bills and expand and increase the Warm Homes Discount, saving families struggling with soaring costs up to £600 off their bills.

Since then, the party has called on the Conservative Government to bring forward this change almost 250 times.

It comes as BP and Shell alone have made £12.37bn of profit in the first three months of 2022 – despite Cabinet ministers describing these companies as “struggling” when defending the Conservatives’ refusal to implement a windfall tax.

Analysis by the Labour Party on Sunday showed the expected profits of North Sea oil and gas firms in 2022/23 are higher than the combined rise in energy bills for every household in the UK.

As well as growing support from the Conservative backbenches, there is also widespread public support for a windfall tax, including senior business figures such as the chairs of Tesco and John Lewis.

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

“As energy bills rise by record amounts for families across Portsmouth, it is shameful that Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak still refuse to back a windfall tax that could help tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

“Today, Labour will give MPs another chance to support our one-off windfall tax on oil and gas producer profits to bring down bills.

“Local Conservative MPs must now back this measure to bring down the energy costs of their constituents, or explain why they continue to oppose measures that would ease their cost-of-living.”

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Queen’s Speech – City MP responds

Reacting to the Queen’s Speech today, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, said:

“This was a wasted opportunity. The first line of the Queen’s Speech should have included the introduction of an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living crisis Portsmouth and the rest of the country are facing. Instead, it was scarcely mentioned at all.

“Nothing to tackle the cost of the weekly shop, energy bills or the price at the pump. Ministers even decided it was better to chuck its Employment Bill in the bin, rather than help to secure good jobs.

“Today’s Queen’s Speech smacks of a government and Prime Minister that is out of ideas, and out of touch. Labour is ambitious for our country. After 12 years of low growth, high inflation and spiralling taxes, Labour’s plan would once again prioritise world-class public services, bring down NHS waiting times, tackle crime and ensure the best education for our children.”

Commenting on schools, the Shadow Schools Minister, added:

“After two years of unprecedented chaos and disruption to children’s education, we saw nothing to support children’s catch-up learning in the classroom, and nothing to tackle the day-to-day challenges pupils and teachers are facing. This government is failing our next generation.

“Labour in government would recruit 6,500 new teachers, back them with improved professional development and ensure every young person leaves education ready for work and ready for life, with professional careers advice and work experience for all.”

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Portsmouth MP backs Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign

Stephen Morgan MP has pledged his support to children and young people with a vision impairment through Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign.

At a Parliamentary event hosted by the charity Guide Dogs, the Portsmouth MP met children, young people and their families to talk about the challenges they face in the education system.

Recent research conducted for Guide Dogs found that 69% of teachers lack confidence that they have the right skills to support disabled children, including those with a vision impairment, to reach their full potential.

This is reflected in outcomes for children with sight loss, who are significantly behind their peers in terms of academic attainment.

Guide Dogs’ “All Things Equal” campaign is calling for greater recognition of vision impairment throughout the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) system. The critical role of specialist professionals needs to be prioritised, and more support should be given at an earlier stage to help prevent young people with sight loss from falling behind.

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

“It was a pleasure to join Guide Dogs charity, families and dogs to hear about its All Things Equal campaign in Parliament this week.

“80% of our learning is through sight and that’s why children with sight loss in Portsmouth and across the country need specialist support and services.

“Yet all too often children with sight loss are not being given the adjustments they need. I will continue to speak up in Parliament to secure the support children with sight loss need.”

Blanche Shackleton, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs said:

“Children and young people with vision impairment tell us they want to grow up enjoying the same opportunities as their classmates. But all too often, they are being let down by the education system that fails to give them the support they need.

“We know that the lack of support in childhood can have a far-reaching impact. Just one in four working age adults with a vision impairment are in employment.

“That is why we are calling on the Government to make all things equal for children and young people with vision impairment, so that they have access to the support they need.”

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Partygate: Portsmouth MP backs investigation into whether PM lied to Parliament

Stephen Morgan MP has backed an investigation to be launched into whether the Prime Minister lied to Parliament on breaking covid laws in Downing Street.

Labour Leader Keir Starmer MP tabled a motion in the House of Commons today, with support of other opposition party leaders, to ask the Privileges Committee to investigate whether statements made by the Prime Minster about Downing Street Covid breaches deliberately misled MPs, which would amount to contempt of Parliament.

It comes after numerous statements made by the Prime Minster to the House of Commons about events in Downing Street which breached Covid laws, leading to the Metropolitan Police fining both him and Chancellor for.

The Privileges Committee polices the privileges of the Commons and has powers to hold people in contempt of Parliament. It has existed in some form since the 17th century to monitor the conduct of MPs and to investigate when asked to by the House.

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

“The Prime Minister broke the Covid laws he instructed millions of others to follow, in Downing Street, and then lied about it.

“That’s why I’ve supported this cross-party motion for the Privileges Committee to investigate whether he knowingly lied to Parliament, in addition to the people of Portsmouth and the country.

“In a day of chaos from the Tories, the Prime Minister didn’t even have the confidence in his own Conservative colleagues to back him and at the eleventh hour, dropped the whip.

“The values that uphold our democracy – honesty, respect, integrity – are being slowly eroded every time a defence is made for why he could not come clean to Parliament about breaking the law in the first place. It must end. Britain and our great city deserve better.”

The committee will not begin its investigation until the inquiries currently being conducted by the Metropolitan Police about No10 Covid breaches have been concluded.


What is the Privileges Committee being asked to investigate?

The Prime Minister has made numerous statements to the House about his knowledge of events reported to have taken place in Downing Street and the Cabinet Office during the coronavirus lockdowns. The fact that he and the Chancellor have now been fined makes these statements highly questionable.

The Privileges Committee is being asked the investigate whether these statements were deliberately misleading. If they determine that they were, this would amount to contempt of Parliament.

What powers does the Privileges Committee have?

The Privileges Committee has wide-ranging powers including the ability to request documents from the Government as part of its inquiries – this could include the full Sue Gray report and photographs. It will report back to the House on its findings and can also recommend sanctions, including suspension or expulsion, if appropriate; these would then need to be agreed by the House.

Why would the investigation not start until after the police processes have concluded?

The police should be allowed to proceed with their investigations without any perceived impediment. At the same time, there are already questions about the important issue of whether the House has been misled and Members should take a decision immediately that this matter should be investigated as soon as is appropriate.

How long would the investigation take?

The length of the investigation is most appropriately determined by the Privileges Committee. The motion therefore does not specify when the committee should report by, but given the public interest, it would likely be concluded as quickly as possible.

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Plan for new Community and Victim Payback Boards to tackle anti-social behaviour backed by City MP

Stephen Morgan MP has backed plans to create Community and Victim Payback Boards (CVPBs) to strengthen community and victim involvement in community sentences, get tough on antisocial behaviour and stop more serious reoffending at source.

Labour’s plan to get tough on low-level offending through unpaid work will begin to rebuild communities’ trust in the criminal justice system, after a decade of court closures, criminal case delays and the decline in community payback under the Conservatives. The new orders and CVPBs will help to reassure communities that crimes are being punished, offenders are being rehabilitated and communities are being paid back.

Community and Victim Payback Boards will be operated by Community Safety Partnerships (or other existing similar local infrastructure), with guidance from the Criminal Justice System, the Local Authority or other key agencies.

CVPBs will operate through existing local infrastructure at no additional cost and create a new level of involvement for community leaders and victims of crime in deciding what unpaid work offenders must undertake, such as removing graffiti, clearing wasteland or re-decorating community centres.

Local data will be published on the nature of unpaid work offenders and showing whether community payback has been completed so that communities and victims can be sure that justice is being served and offenders are paying areas back for their crimes.

Labour’s announcement comes as the party released new research which showed that:

  • The number of community sentences handed down in the South East and Eastern region fell by 3,805, between 2017 and 2020
  • The number of hours of existing community payback being completed by offenders has been falling in every region in nearly every year since 2016

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

“After 12 years of Conservative government, which has seen record criminal case delays, police officers disappearing from our streets, police station closures and court sell-offs, communities across Portsmouth have lost faith that government is properly supporting our criminal justice system to keep them safe from crime.

“Community payback can stop more serious reoffending, but Judges have stopped handing it out because this soft-on-crime Conservative Government cannot be trusted to make sure offenders pay back for their crimes.

“Labour will put security at the heart of its contract with the British people. We will put communities and victims at the heart of how offenders repay society and make sure justice is being seen to be delivered locally.”

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Portsmouth MP backs plan to crackdown on community crime with new police hubs in every local area

Stephen Morgan MP has renewed his commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour, as new analysis from Labour has shown that 1.2 million incidents of nuisance are recorded in England and Wales every year – equating to over 20,000 incidents every single week.

Labour has accused the Conservatives of abandoning local communities like those in Portsmouth and showing no leadership on anti-social behaviour for a decade.

Some 1.2 million nuisance incidents were recorded in the year ending September 2021, equating to 23,759 incidents every week, and over 3,300 every single day. When expanded to cover personal and environmental ASB such as drug paraphernalia, over 1.6 million incidents of antisocial behaviour were recorded over the last year – over 200,000 higher than pre-pandemic levels.

The Official Opposition wants to see local Police Hubs in towns and communities across the country, bringing together a Neighbourhood Prevention Team made up of police, community support officers, local authority staff and youth workers to tackle anti-social behaviour at source.

These teams would prioritise being visible on patrols, being easily accessible for local residents and would pursue serial perpetrators of ASB or low-level crime, as well as dealing with visible signs of disorder such as broken windows, graffiti, fly-tipping, or drug dealing. These teams will also support victims of anti-social behaviour. Labour councils such as Redbridge are already working in partnership with local police to introduce local hubs.

In September 2020 the Home Secretary wrote to the Victims Commissioner to express her concern about “the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities”. Yet there have been no specific reforms since that point.

Labour’s plan includes:

  • New Police Hubs in crime and antisocial behaviour hotspots across the country to get the police back out into the community
  • Neighbourhood Prevention Teams bringing together police and local councils and youth services to tackle antisocial behaviour that is blighting communities
  • Stronger powers for police and local councils to shut down drug dens, and to keep them closed for longer
  • A major recruitment drive to increase the number of special constables
  • Giving victims of persistent antisocial behaviour the same entitlements including access to support services as other victims of crime

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

“Communities across Portsmouth are being badly let down by this government.

“Nationally, total crime is going up, prosecutions are going down, criminals are being let off and victims are being let down.

“I saw first-hand during a night patrol last Friday with our dedicated local police officers how they are working to tackle street harassment and anti-social behaviour, but they need far better support from government.

“That’s why Labour would introduce new Police Hubs to bring neighbourhood prevention teams back out into our communities in Portsmouth. We need to see police back on our streets working in communities to keep people safe.”

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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.”


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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.”