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City MP votes against government Bill to raise National Insurance as Labour offers alternative vision for Social Care

Stephen Morgan MP has voted against a government Bill that will raise National Insurance for local working families as Labour sets out its alternative vision for social care reforms.

The Health and Social Care Levy Bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons today before votes this evening, would raise National Insurance by 1.25% for working families and businesses across the country.

The government legislation is facing wide-ranging criticism for how the social care reforms will be funded, particularly for those on low income.

Under current proposals, a graduate on a typical entry level salary would a pay marginal tax rate of almost 50%.

In addition, The British Chamber of Commerce, Make UK, the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses have all slammed the government’s suggested solution to the social care crisis as harmful for businesses and for our economic recovery, with the FSB saying it will lead to 50,000 fewer jobs being created.

Labour has set an alternative plan, which would:

  • Give older and disabled people the chance to live the life they choose, shifting the focus of support towards prevention and early help.
  • Ensure every older and disabled person who needs care and support gets it when and where they need it, improving their lives and delivering better value for taxpayers’ money and;
  • Build a strong and skilled social care workforce, with a new deal for care workers to create a well-motivated, skilled and properly rewarded workforce, with more support for unpaid carers

The member of parliament of Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, commented:

“When it comes to social care, for many, it’s personal. This is about services for our loved ones. Our friends. Our neighbours.

“For me, it was the lack of social care available for my grandad that was one of the key reasons I put myself forward for public office.

“The barriers to access affordable social care for people like him was unacceptable then, and it’s unacceptable now.

“That’s why I voted against these deeply regressive proposals today and will continue to fight on behalf of local people for the better access to the vital services they need.”

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Reactive statement to social care reform proposals – Stephen Morgan MP

Responding to the government’s announcement on funding for social care today, the member of parliament for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said:

“The social care system is in crisis, but the government’s manifesto breaking proposals to fund its reforms would hit working people hardest, particularly low earners, young people and businesses still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic.

“The fairest way to pay for social care is through progressive taxation, not a rise to national insurance that is not only morally backward, but economically too.

“I have written to the Prime Minister, launched a city-wide survey and hosted a local meeting with the Shadow Minister responsible on this issue. I am also currently holding roundtable meetings with care providers and service users and I will continue to ensure the government produces the comprehensive response this crisis demands.

“Portsmouth and the wider country have for too long needed a clear and long-term plan that is serious about fixing the social care crisis quickly, not one that kicks the can down the road.”

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Stephen Morgan MP raises concerns over access to city’s healthcare following survey  

Stephen Morgan MP has once again raised concerns that a worrying number of people in Portsmouth are not getting access to GP care when they need it, following a new survey being published. 

 

Responses to the GP patient survey showed that 14.9% of patients surveyed in Portsmouth said they ‘did not find it easy to get through to their GP practice on the telephone’, and 17% of patients either ‘were not given an appointment or were unable to take up the appointment they were offered’. In addition, 6.4% in Portsmouth said it was ‘not easy to use their practice’s website’ to access information they needed.

  

The most deprived areas in the country have poorer access to healthcare and poorer health. The poorest areas have fewer GPs per head, and nationally, GPs working in the most-deprived areas of England get 7 per cent less funding per patient than those in more affluent areas. Men living in the least deprived communities can expect to live 9.4 years longer than those in the most deprived, with the gap around 7.4 years for women.

 

These figures reflect increasing concerns being raised by constituents in the city MP’s postbag which is why he has lobbied the Health Secretary to tackle the issue, written to the local decision-makers and has vowed to take further action when Parliament returns. 

 

According to latest data, 5.5 million people are currently on waiting lists for vital medical treatment – with numbers at a record high for three consecutive months.

 

Labour says the Government’s Health and Care Bill does nothing to tackle waiting times or improve access to healthcare in communities that need it, including in Portsmouth. 

 

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

“It’s really concerning that patients in Portsmouth are struggling to see their GP and get the care and information that they need. 

 

“Primary care is essential to keeping people in Portsmouth healthy and patients must be put first. 

“Government need to ensure that local GP services are accessible to all in our community and are properly resourced, so that everyone is able to see a doctor when they need to. 

“I will continue to take action on our city’s concerns by raising these matters with Ministers”.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP said:

“It’s unacceptable that patients are unable to see their GP particularly in poorer areas thanks to years of Tory underfunding and cuts. 

 

“Instead of investing sufficiently in general practice, Sajid Javid is embarking on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that imposes a tight financial straight jacket on local areas while side-lining family doctors.

 

“Ministers should put patients first, and expand access to health care to bring waiting lists down rather than a distracting NHS restructuring.”

Mr Morgan has previously demanded the government ‘cuts the rhetoric’ and supports the NHS after research from his office showed the number of people waiting for treatment in Portsmouth had continued to rise.

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Portsmouth Labour launch survey amid social care crisis

Portsmouth Labour Party has launched an online survey for local residents to provide their views on the mounting social care crisis.

Results from the short questionnaire will inform a dossier of evidence Stephen Morgan MP and the local party is preparing to lobby the Health Secretary for change.

It comes following reports that Ministers are considering a rise in national insurance to pay for an overhaul of the UK’s social care system. This would be a direct breach of the 2019 Tory election manifesto promise not to raise taxes.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

The survey is the latest in a string of actions the City MP has taken locally and in Parliament.

Mr Morgan has long campaigned for Government to tackle the crisis in social care and has been sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association with Ministers.

Portsmouth Labour has also been taking action on the city council to ensure care users get the support they need.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The pandemic has brutally exposed the crisis in our social care system. The virus quickly took hold of an ill-equipped, underfunded and poorly coordinated sector, creating searing inequality for carers and devastating effects on individuals and families.

“It has been more than two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of Downing Street and claimed he had a solution, but as ever with this government it is big on promises, low on delivery.

“I’m proud to launch this survey alongside Cllr Kirsty Mellor and look forward to working across the community to find the right solutions to one of the greatest challenges facing our society.”

Cllr Kirsty Mellor, Portsmouth Labour’s social care spokesperson added:

“While we welcome the recognition from the government that significantly more resources are needed to relieve the social care crisis, it is disappointing to see that announcement of any details have yet again been delayed! We’re campaigning locally to identify what actions can be taken by the council to respond to the urgency of the situation.”

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Carers Week: Portsmouth MP thanks local carers and pledges to fight to ensure they’re ‘visible and valued’

Stephen Morgan MP has pledged to help fix the broken care system during a visit to the local Carers Centre as Carers Week reaches a close.

Based in Southsea, the Carers Centre assists all carers in Portsmouth, offering a range of information and advice, as well as support to have a break or just to lend a listening ear.

The Portsmouth MP was visiting the centre to listen about the centre’s plan on Covid recovery, plans to improve some of the meeting space they have for carers and how they are thanking carers for all they have done during the pandemic and beyond.

Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges unpaid carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Visible and Valued’.

Carers UK estimate that carers save the UK economy £132 billion a year, roughly equivalent to the annual cost of the NHS. It is also believed there were 9.1 million unpaid carers across the UK before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 4.5 million new to caring since the start of the pandemic.

The 2011 census found that there were 17-18,000 carers in Portsmouth, but it is now believed to be much higher.

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

“This Carers Week it’s important we recognise and thank our carers for the incredible work they do. 

“It was really great to be back at the Carers Centre to learn about its latest plans to support our carers and thank them for their efforts over this past year.

“I will continue to speak up for the thousands of people providing unpaid care in Portsmouth and across Britain, and push Government to urgently fix our social care system as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Mr Morgan lobbied the Prime Minister sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service plans.

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Portsmouth MP calls on the Government to ‘Cure the Care System’ during Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week

This Dementia Action Week (May 17-23) Stephen Morgan MP is joining Alzheimer’s Society in asking the Government to #CuretheCareSystem.

It’s been a devastating year for people affected by dementia. Right now, in Portsmouth and across the UK, nearly a million families are struggling to take care of their loved ones with the dignity and support they deserve. Decades of under-funding have led to a system that is difficult to access, costly, inadequate and unfair. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed these problems like never before.

More than 35,000 people with dementia have died of COVID-19 – around one in four of all UK deaths – making those with the condition the worst hit by the pandemic. Meanwhile, many people living with dementia have experienced a significant deterioration in their condition due, in large part, to interrupted health and social care.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

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

“I’m proud to support Dementia Action Week and Alzheimer’s Society’s calls for the government to announce its plans and commitments for social care reform as a matter of urgency.

“NHS care is provided according to need and is free at the point of use. As a matter of fairness, dementia care must be delivered on the same principle.

“Many people in Portsmouth are affected by dementia, and they deserve to be able to access the person-centred care and support they need to live well. That’s why we need to cure the care system now.”

An Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson added:

“Dementia does not just impact on the person diagnosed. It claims more than one life as families battle for the right care for themselves and their loved ones.

“Our findings paint a bleak picture. Family carers are exhausted, with more than 40% putting in more than 100 caring hours per week.

“People with dementia and their loved ones have told us they simply aren’t getting the care and support they need. Sadly, too many family carers reach a point of crisis before receiving help.”

It comes after last week Mr Morgan wrote to the Prime Minister last week sharing the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

He has also held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Portsmouth MP calls out PM for failure to address social care in Portsmouth

Stephen Morgan has called on the Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP to publish further details on his reported plans for social care.

In a letter to Prime Minister today, the Portsmouth MP shared the concerns of his constituents, including Portsmouth Pensioners Association, about the level of social care provision in the city.

According to Portsmouth Pensioners Association, £160m has been removed from the Adult Social Care budget in Portsmouth since 2015 as part of austerity measures, which falls far short of what’s needed to meet demand in our city.

Over the last two years, 1,500 people in Portsmouth in the medium to lower needs group have had their social care removed to make budget savings.

It comes after Boris Johnson claimed 659 days ago outside 10 Downing Street that he had a plan to fix the social care crisis, but failed to reveal this in the Queen’s Speech earlier this week.

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

“It has been nearly two years since the Prime Minister stood on the steps of 10 Downing Street claiming to have a plan to fix the social care crisis, but still fails to publish plans on this.

“Many pensioners and those dependent on social care in our city cannot afford to be continually overlooked by this government, which is why I have written to Boris Johnson today to urge him to publish plans now, without further delay.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care, has regularly submitted a range of written parliamentary questions on the issue and backed Labour’s National Care Service policy proposed in 2019.

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Queen’s Speech: Portsmouth MP slams government’s ‘hollow promises’ on social care

Stephen Morgan MP has attacked the government today after it failed to offer clear detail on its plans revealed in the Queen’s Speech today to address the social care crisis Portsmouth and the wider country is facing.

Announcing her government’s legislative priorities, Her Majesty the Queen revealed in her speech to Parliament today that social care proposals ‘will be brought forward’.

However, Labour responded to the announcement arguing his was yet ‘further delay’ to tackle the perennial problem that has gripped the country for years and was a ‘wasted opportunity’ to finally deal with it.

According to The Kings Fund, only around a quarter of people who have requested some of form of social care are actually assessed as eligible for formal short-term or long-term care.

Meanwhile according to Portsmouth CCG, there is a 69.5% estimated dementia prevalence rate in persons aged 65 and over of the Portsmouth population, underlining the importance of the local provision of social care with the continued trend of an aging general population.

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

“The message from last week is that people are demanding and are owed real change. Today, the Government gave us yet more rhetoric and buzzwords, not a proper plan to get Britain working for working people.

“This Queen’s Speech doesn’t put proper detail behind the rhetoric on jobs, social care, reducing violent crime and narrowing the gap between different parts of the country will be yet another wasted opportunity.

“Social care is in dire need of improvement across our country and in Portsmouth, but many will now feel forgotten by this government which has once again opted for further dither and delay with hollow promises on this important issue.”

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

“Labour’s priority is jobs. That means good jobs, good pay and good prospects, bringing an end to insecurity at work and spreading opportunity across Britain. We must seize this moment to create a brighter future for the whole country.”

Mr Morgan recently held a public meeting with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP to discuss issues related to mental health and social care.

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COVID impact: Portsmouth MP visits local organisation MAKE that supports adults with learning disabilities

Stephen Morgan MP visited local support group MAKE today following the acute impact the pandemic has had on vulnerable people living in Portsmouth.

Based in Fratton, MAKE is a social enterprise supported by Aldingbourne Trust, providing innovative projects to support adults with learning disabilities to develop skills to enable them to lead independent lives and gain employment within the community.

However, many of those who rely on the local services MAKE provides felt ‘isolated’ during the third lockdown, a feeling shared by many during a discussion included in the Portsmouth MP’s visit, focusing on the impact the pandemic has had on MAKE and those who use its services.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the inequalities disabled people face in England, with national data showing disabled people and those with health conditions accounting for 59% of all deaths relating to coronavirus.

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

MAKE is a fantastic organisation that is doing brilliant work to support some of the most vulnerable in our community who have also been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 over this past year.

“It’s brilliant to see that these facilities have now reopened for service users, but it’s vital services like these stay open and remain supported as we slowly unlock from this third lockdown.”

Mr Morgan previously visited MAKE last August after the first lockdown and has put questions to the Health Secretary on when government will set out a clear plan on how and when vulnerable groups will be vaccinated, along with others who are currently left out of the priority groups.

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City MP hosts summit with Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall MP on the future of social care

Stephen Morgan MP is set to host a social care public meeting with Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care Liz Kendall MP on Monday 22 March, 6.30pm-7.30pm.

The online event, which is open to all, will discuss the impact of the pandemic on social care and why social care is set to be this generation’s next challenge.

According to The Kings Fund, only around a quarter of people who have requested some of form of social care are actually assessed as eligible for formal short-term or long-term care.

Meanwhile according to Portsmouth CCG, there is a 69.5% estimated dementia prevalence rate in persons aged 65 and over of the Portsmouth population, underlining the importance of the local provision of social care with the continued trend of an aging general population.

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

This crisis has shone a spotlight on the already chronic issues we are experiencing as a country, no less so than the challenge of the provision of social care.

“It is clear social care is one of our generation’s next great challenges, which is why Labour’s mission is to transform care to make our city and the wider country the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in.

“Liz Kendall has done a phenomenal job in her role as Shadow Minister for Health and Social Care and I look forward to Portsmouth people hearing her insights on this important issue that impacts our city’s families.”

The event will take place on Zoom, is free, and open to all. You can sign up for the meeting here.