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City MP works alongside support charity helping Portsmouth families ‘achieve their potential’

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has spent the day working alongside frontline family support charity Home-Start to see the difference they are making to parents and children.

The independent family support charity offers trained volunteer support to parents experiencing postnatal depression, isolation, illness, bereavement or family breakdown.

Established in 1992, it has supported thousands of families across the city.

The Portsmouth South representative met parents and volunteers working with the service to hear about the support being provided and the positive impact it has had on their family life.

One family from Somerstown had benefited from the group’s ‘Big Hopes Big Future’ programme, which works with children in the year before they start school. A trained volunteer is matched with  the family and visits them for 12 week, offering support to develop the child’s key skills and routines to help children settle in to their new school.

Jo Toms, Operations Manager, Home-Start Portsmouth:

“After a year like no other, we are very grateful to Stephen Morgan who shadowed our work and met with families, volunteers, and staff of Home-Start Portsmouth, highlighting how the pandemic has had an impact on parents and young children.

“It’s good for parents to feel listened to and share their experiences and stories of the last year.

“I am incredibly proud of our service, the support we offer to Portsmouth families, the staff team but most of all our volunteers who have continued to offer face to face visits, doorstep drops, telephone calls, texts and Zoom calls throughout.

“We have been there for families and it was important to showcase what our volunteers do and the difference they make.”

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Home-Start have been a vital frontline service for local families during a period of unprecedented challenges for our City.  

“The pandemic has unfortunately meant isolation, bereavement and loss of income and have become increasingly common, but Home-Start helps lift up children and parents so they can achieve their potential.

“It was a privilege to work alongside their dedicated volunteers today and see first-hand the positive impact their invaluable work is making to homes in our city.”

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Local Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ thanked for their service by Portsmouth MP

Stephen Morgan MP has joined Hampshire Search and Rescue ‘heroes’ for a training demonstration to see how the service has been keeping the area’s people safe.

Over the past year, the Hampshire Search and Rescue team have continued with their primary role of assisting police with missing person searches, as well as taking on a number of other tasks to help tackle the pandemic.

This includes delivering essential PPE to the front line and assisting Portsmouth International Port with the COVID swab testing of freight drivers. They have also been volunteering with Solent NHS Trust since January to deliver the Coronavirus vaccine.

The team has given 16,600 hours to the service so far in 2021, including 7,000 hours to support frontline work to tackle the pandemic.

The service was called out 96 times in 2020, their busiest ever year and 16 more than the 2019 total.

During his visit, the Portsmouth MP took part in a live training exercise and met service managers to learn about their operations.

Trevor Vidler, Vice Chair, said:

“It was a pleasure to host Stephen on the search exercise and we were pleased to be able to demonstrate our operational role.”

“Our all-volunteer charity currently has 122 members and we are on-call to the police 24 hours a day, every day of the year, whatever the weather.”

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

“Hampshire Search and Rescue Service have done a phenomenal job in keeping people safe during one of the most difficult periods our country has faced.

“It was inspirational to see the volunteers in action and learn more about how they help protect us day in, day out.

“I was delighted to thank them personally on behalf of all us for their truly heroic efforts over the last year.”

Visit: https://hantsar.org/ to donate or volunteer.

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Support for young people ‘vital’ for city’s recovery as local MP tours new hub to boost youth employment

Stephen Morgan MP has underlined the importance of young people getting the support they need to find their route to employment as the city begins its economic recovery.

It comes following the Portsmouth MP’s visit to a new hub in the city that has been launched to directly support young people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit to find work.

My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), paying for 3 full time staff through Portsmouth City Council and allocating 2 part-time DWP Work Coaches.

The age groups are particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the pandemic, with over 1,900 young people included, representing 19% of Universal Credit claimants. This level has been consistent since the middle of last year and compares to pre-Covid averages of around 720 young people.

The hub is a ‘one-stop service’ that helps job seekers aged between 16 and 24 to find work, by:

• Helping people into work (CV updating, job searching, writing applications and cover letters and preparing for interviews)
• Confidence building
• Health and wellbeing
• Housing
• Managing debt
• Accessing benefits
• Mental health support
• Health and wellbeing advice
• Discussing options, including: Kickstart, apprenticeships, traineeships, adult education and paid employment.

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

“Young people have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic, so I’m really glad to see authorities working together to help provide the support they need to secure their futures and our city’s recovery.

“My Future in Portsmouth Youth Hub will provide a really important service for local young people to find the work they need, many of whom will be looking to get their first job in tough circumstances, so my thanks to those in Portsmouth who have helped to put this into action.”

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Portsmouth MP continues work with police to tackle crime in visit to contact ‘nerve centre’

Stephen Morgan MP has visited the Constabulary’s contact management centre in Southampton as he continues to support the fight against hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour, amid rising concerns.

The contact management teams, operated by Hampshire Constabulary, works alongside Thames Valley Police, taking emergency 999 calls and handling non-emergency contact via the 101 service.

Those in the Contact Management Centre are responsible for recording detailed crime reports, filing intelligence and managing other general enquiries.

It comes following a decade of cuts to the Police, with workforce figures showing that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

Meanwhile, Labour has launched its national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

The visit today took place after the city MP hosted a round table discussion with community groups and campaigners earlier this year with regards to tackling violence against women and girls and efforts to end hate crime.

Mr Morgan was joined on the visit by members of local group Chat Over Chai and Portsmouth’s District Commander.

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

“Residents tell me that hate crime, violence and anti-social behaviour are growing concerns, so I’ve visited Hampshire Constabulary’s contact nerve centre to see how police are working to tackle this.

“Officers have been working tirelessly to keep us safe during the uncertainty of the pandemic and I want to thank them all for their efforts. But increasingly we see they are being let down by central government.”

“A decade of cuts has left police doing more with less. We still have fewer officers than we did a decade ago, and we know that is having an impact on the safety and security of our neighbourhoods. It’s little wonder the Police Federation now has no confidence in the Home Secretary.

“This government needs to cut the gimmicks and get serious about tackling crime in our communities.”

Earlier this month Stephen Morgan launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for crime and safety in Portsmouth.

 

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Stephen Morgan launches ‘Pint with your MP’ as restrictions ease  

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host his popular ‘Pint with your MP’ sessions again, with the first post-lockdown event taking place this Sunday.

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

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

It comes as the national ‘Long Live Local’ campaign was recently launched, which is asking the Government for greater support to relieve some of the ‘burdens’ that pubs and breweries face.

The campaign claims the brewing and pub sector contributes over £20bn to the UK economy and supports 900,000 jobs.

However, the sector operates under a wide range of different taxes, with one in three pounds spent in the pub going to the treasury, amounting to an average of £140,000 per pub every year.

For every pint of beer sold in a pub (based on an average price and strength) £1.30 goes to the Treasury – 64p in VAT, 46p in beer duty, 12p in business rates and 8p in other taxes.

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

“I’m pleased to finally be able to set up the popular ‘Pint with your MP’ events after an incredibly difficult year.

“This is a great way for local people to share views and issues with me to take back to Westminster whilst supporting a local business.

“As Portsmouth’s voice in Parliament, it’s really important to be out and about and speaking with people to ensure that everyone’s views are heard, not just the loudest ones or those who have better access to technology.

“I hope these sessions will be a chance for others to come and speak to me in way that is more accessible to them”.

The full address of the pub the first ‘Pint with your MP’ will be held is: The Mermaid, George Street, Fratton PO2 7QY. The event will start at 4pm on Sunday 1 August.

Subject to the weather, this event will take place outdoors in the pub’s garden.

Whilst national restrictions have eased, attendees are encouraged to take reasonable precautions to feel safe to attend.

The event is open to all constituents. To confirm attendance, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pint-with-your-mp-tickets-164726688961

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Making Portsmouth safer a ‘top priority’ for local MP as he launches city-wide survey

Stephen Morgan MP has launched a city-wide survey to better understand local views and challenges for public safety in Portsmouth in his latest push to help make the city safer.

Following a decade of cuts, Police workforce figures show that Hampshire constabulary has just 135 officers per 100,000 people, the lowest of any force in the country.

Hampshire’s Chief Constable has also confirmed that underfunding means police responses have to be rationed.

It comes following the launch of Labour’s national ‘Safer Communities’ campaign, pledging to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

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

“I know from my postbag, and from being out and about in our city talking with other local people, that antisocial behaviour, drug dealing, and crime in our communities, are real concerns locally.

That’s why it is one of my top priorities to help keep you, your family and your neighbourhood safe, and why I have been busy liaising with the local police, going out on patrol across our city, taking our concerns to the Constabulary’s leadership, and lobbying Government for fairer funding for our area and getting more bobbies back on the beat in Portsmouth.

“Labour will put more police on the streets; stand up for youth clubs and local services; and give communities the resources and powers to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.

“Help me continue to lobby Government to keep you, your family and your neighbourhood safe by completing my short survey.”

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Stephen Morgan visits Fratton Park to urge Portsmouth people to ‘play their part’ in getting jab

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has today urged anyone in the city aged 18 years and over to ‘play their part’ and take up the vaccine following a visit to pop up vaccination clinic at Fratton Park this weekend.

The clinic which was ran by Solent NHS Trust, in partnership with Portsmouth FC and Portsmouth City Council, is part of a wider effort to ensure everyone who is eligible has access to the vaccination.

Individuals were able to get their first or second dose (if it has been eight weeks since their first dose) of the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine. Second doses of the Moderna vaccine are also being offered at St James’ Hospital.

Following the visit to Fratton Park today (Sunday 25 July), to encourage take up, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South said:

“In the UK only 58% of people aged 18-25 have had their first dose according to new Public Health England data, despite all adults having been offered the jab.

I welcome the efforts of Solent NHS Trust, the city council and others working together to make it as easy as possible for local people to take the vaccination. It has been great to see this first hand at Fratton Park today, and I thank the football club for helping our community in this way.

It is clear that the vaccination programme is our best route out of the challenges we face today, so my message to those who are yet to take up the vaccine offer is simple: To protect you, your loved ones and your friends, please play your part and get the jab”.

Stephanie Clark, Portsmouth vaccination lead at Solent NHS Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be offering Covid-19 vaccinations at pop-up clinics around the city.

“It’s important that we offer as many people the opportunity to receive their life-saving jabs and we hope that by hosting these clinics in iconic locations across Portsmouth, including Fratton Park, that even more people will come forward for their vaccine.”

Anna Mitchell, chief commercial officer at Portsmouth FC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to host and support the national vaccination programme in partnership with the Solent NHS Trust.

“It is so important that fans and members of our local community take up the opportunity to be vaccinated to protect each other and welcome fans back to Fratton Park safely.”

As of July 18, 141,985 adults in Portsmouth have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 105,933 have received their second. This equates to 74.8 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the adult population respectively.

More walk-in clinics are being offered throughout Portsmouth to make it easier for people to get their vaccination. This week, walk-in clinics are available at St James’ Hospital, Locksway Road: 8am-7.30pm – daily (first and second dose AstraZeneca and Moderna)

See a full list of walk-in clinics available throughout the region on the Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight CCG website.

If you are unable to attend any of the walk-in clinics but would still like your vaccination, you can use the national booking system to book an appointment. Please visit the NHS website or call 119.

 

 

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Portsmouth MP doubles down to tackle local anti-social behaviour as he ‘welcomes’ national plan

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed Labour’s national Safer Communities plan today, with pledges to crack down on anti-social behaviour and end violence against women and girls.

Slamming the “twisted priorities” of the Conservative Party, Starmer will reiterate Labour’s commitment to scrap Boris Johnson’s vanity yacht project and redirect the £283m cost to communities blighted by anti-social behaviour.

Over the coming weeks, Labour’s Safer Communities campaign will engage with residents up and down the country about antisocial behaviour in their community. The campaign will also outline how Labour would work towards ending violence against women and girls, and reform rights for victims of crime.

Highlighting the impact cuts to policing and justice under the Conservatives, Starmer will warn that “every person and every family have a basic right to feel safe in their community, but under the Conservatives things are only getting worse”.

Labour’s plans to change course and make our communities safer include:

  • A new £283m fund for areas blighted by high levels of anti-social behaviour, redirected from the Prime Minister’s vanity yacht project. The additional funding could be used for surge funding for police officer and PCSOs, for helping councils fund enforcement or to pay for additional CCTV.
  • Strengthening of legal protections for victims of anti-social behaviour to give victims of persistent, unresolved anti-social behaviour the same rights that the Labour Party is proposing to enshrine for victims of crime.
  • A set of proposals to end violence against women and girls, including increasing sentences for rape and stalking, reviewing sentencing for all domestic abuse, and better support for victims of rape and sexual violence – delivering where the Conservatives have failed to step up.

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

“The government’s priorities are completely backward. Instead of spending hundreds of millions of pounds on vanity projects, Labour would invest that money into tackling issues that matter to communities in Portsmouth and across the country.

“Our city has had historic problems in tackling anti-social behaviour and related issues, only made worse with one of the mostly poorly funded local police services in the country, but this plan would get Portsmouth back on track and has my full support.”

Keir Starmer MP, Leader of the Labour Party, also said:

“This summer, Labour will campaign for safer communities. That means more police to tackle crime, anti-social behaviour, and dangerous driving. It means restoring youth projects and treatment services, and it means real support for victims.

“Labour will always prioritise keeping you, your family and your community safe.”

In April, Mr Morgan joined up with ‘Operation Nautical’, a dedicated policing response to keep communities safe along Southsea seafront and neighbouring areas in Portsmouth this summer.

The Portsmouth representative also regularly joins the Police on local patrols and has lobbied Government for fairer Police funding for Portsmouth through a range of written parliamentary questions and letters to the Minister, and meets regularly to discuss concerns with the district commander. In May, the Portsmouth MP launched a petition to call on Government to get more bobbies on the beat in the city.

 

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City MP responds to 3% pay rise for some NHS staff

Responding to the government’s announcement that nurses and other NHS workers will receive a 3% pay rise, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“Ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming to a 3% rise, which will still be bitterly disappointing for the NHS staff who cared for our City during the pandemic.

“Millions of other public sector staff including police, teachers, junior doctors, care workers and our armed forces will still face a real-terms pay cut this year.

“This was a moment to recognise and reward the service of our key workers, yet this government continues to squander taxpayers’ money on crony contracts and vanity projects.

“Ministers must get their priorities right. This is not just about money, it is a test of who we are as a nation.”

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Portsmouth MP welcomes latest findings ‘vindicating’ local WASPI Women

Stephen Morgan MP has welcomed the latest revelations on the WASPI Women’s route to justice, after an investigation found ‘failings’ in the way the government communicated changes to women’s State Pension age.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), which is conducting the investigation, stated that it has received a “significant number” of complaints as to the way that the 1995 Pensions Act change, which meant women could no longer claim their state pension at 60, was communicated by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), with many experiencing “significant” financial loss and emotional distress as a result.

PHSO stated that the DWP had failed to take adequate account of the need for targeted and individually tailored information or of how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results.

It also found that DWP failed to make a “reasonable decision” about next steps in August 2005 and failed to use feedback to improve service design and delivery, highlighting this as “maladministration”.

There are reportedly 4,300 women living in Portsmouth South and born between 6 April 1950 and 5 April 1960 who were affected by Pensions Act 1995 (which first provided for the women’s State Pension age to increase from 60 from April 2010 onwards).

It comes after the Portsmouth representative recently hosted a meeting with the local Solent WASPI group and the Shadow Minister responsible for issues relating to WASPI Women, Matt Rodda MP.

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

“This is the first step to continue the fight for fair treatment for state pension arrangements for 1950s women and I welcome the latest findings of the PHSO’s report, but there is more to do.

“I know that many in Portsmouth will feel vindicated by this, but I will keep working on behalf of Solent WASPI campaigners and others and lobby Government until justice is secured.

“We are not going away.”