Education cuts don’t heal – Portsmouth MP tells PM

Stephen Morgan MP used PMQs to raise the issue of school budget cuts and a growing infant hunger in Portsmouth.


Today at Prime Minister’s Question Time, MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, raised serious concerns over school cuts and the number of children using food banks in his city.

Portsmouth’s schools will have lost over £3million under this Government by 2019 and class sizes continue to grow. Local teachers and parents have had to provide basic resources such as pencils and glue-sticks in the face of a growing funding gap.

Furthermore, according to the latest available data from the Trussell Trust, approximately 40,000 children in the South East are reliant on food banks.

Mr Morgan asked the PM: ‘If the Prime Minister was a teacher who’d been under a pay cap for 8 years, what would she buy a struggling child in one of my city’s classrooms – a text book or a square meal?’ The PM responded by saying that the amount of money in schools was greater than ever before, a claim refuted by the NEU, NAC, and NUT.

Commenting, Stephen Morgan MP said:


Portsmouth continues to be left behind by this Government. Class sizes are up, but schools have had their budgets repeatedly cut. Yet, the Prime Minister continues to recycle her line claiming the opposite.


Her Education Secretary has already been reprimanded by the statistics watchdog for saying school spending is going up – just because you repeat something doesn’t make it true.


But Portsmouth’s teachers and parents know the reality of the Tories failure to invest in our children’s futures, and they deserve better.’



Amanda Martin, Vice-President of the NEU, added:


‘Mr Morgan is quite right to stand up for teachers and their students.The Government’s real-terms cuts to education funding have seen £2.8 billion cut from school budgets since 2015.


The Prime Minister is wrong on the facts. She must address the funding crisis urgently and not continue to ignore these very real problems.’


City MP and local businesses say it’s time to prioritise Portsmouth 

Stephen Morgan MP called for a summit with the Government after upsurge in small business break-ins

Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, today brought six local businesses to Parliament to meet with the Policing and Fire Minister, Rt. Hon. Nick Hurd MP, and discuss the impact rising in crime is having on their livelihoods.

Mr Morgan originally asked the Prime Minister at Question Time in the House of Commons if she would meet with the delegation. Regrettably, both she and the Home Secretary declined.

The group were helpfully joined by Hampshire Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen and Chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, John Apter, a serving police officer.

Hampshire Constabulary recently announced that 160 jobs are to be axed as part of the latest round of cuts to the force. In recent years, 1000 police officers have been lost across Hampshire.

Officers will be lost in the dogs, traffic, and intelligence and surveillance units as the police are forced to save £25 million over the next four years. Hampshire has already seen the policing budget fall by £80 million and 1,000 officers lost since 2011.

This comes at a time when local businesses in Portsmouth have seen a troubling spike in break-ins at their properties, putting business confidence and our city’s economy at risk.

Commenting on the meeting, Stephen Morgan MP, said:


It was important for me to bring some of Portsmouth’s brilliant small businesses up to Westminster.


The Prime Minister or her Home Secretary should have met with representatives themselves today. Their failure to do so shows just how far their heads are in the sand over rising crime as well as their inability to prioritise Portsmouth.


Thankfully, the Policing Minister was willing to listen, and heard from Portsmouth’s small businesses, first-hand, the impact police cuts are having on our community.’


During the meeting, representatives also discussed the effects stretched resources and budget cuts are having on frontline policing, with the Police Federation describing the impact on officers and staff.

Stephen added:


‘We have a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner who’s stayed silent on the issue of crime affecting small businesses in Portsmouth.

On his watch, we’ve seen crime increase by 10% locally and police officers working flat-out. That is why I want to see every penny he has, spent on frontline policing.’


The Portsmouth delegation consisted of Simon Docker of Huis Bar representing Elm Grove, Ian Clarke of Southsea Beach Café representing the seafront, Johnny Black of Johnny Black Photography representing Marmion Road, Tara Knight of Southsea Coffee Company representing Osborne Road, and Louise Whitmore of Love Southsea representing local market traders. Albert Road Traders Association provided a written submission as their chair was unable to attend.

Stephen said:


‘I’m very grateful to the small businesses took the time to come to Westminster to meet with the Minister and myself.


I’ll continue to work alongside them, and police, to bring down crime in Portsmouth.’

Anti-social behaviour and policing

Despite the hard work of our local police force, I am concerned about the rising level of anti-social behaviour in Nelson ward and worried that incidents are on the increase. I have spoken to some of the members of Buckland Community Centre and they told me they have been facing young youths on Sundays coming to intimidate and harass lone staff there. They have reported these incidents to the local Police Community Support Officers, but because of government cuts they have fewer of them to cover such a large area. Small business owners in Stamshaw have told me of similar problems and how they are struggling over the lack of customer facilities with no proper improvements to the footpaths, which makes it difficult for people to get to them. Drug use is also becoming a problem and may well be contributing to such incidents.

Like many people who live and work in the city, I was shocked when I discovered that 1000 police officers have been cut from our local Hampshire force and that the number of bobbies on the beat is at its lowest level across the country for 30 years.

It’s clear we need more police officers, not fewer, patrolling the neighbourhood like they always used to, looking out for our communities and getting to know the people in them. They can pick up what’s going on and often help to prevent bad situations getting worse, or even happening at all. That’s why Labour is committed to putting 10,000 more of them back on the beat. With our own in Nelson, we’d see a reduction in these kind of incidents and residents would feel reassured and above all, safer.

City MP Joins Cystic Fibrosis Campaigners at Downing Street

Portsmouth South MP backs petition signed by 113,000 calling for new drug to be reconsidered for use in the NHS

Stephen Morgan today joined campaigners at Downing Street to deliver a petition to the Prime Minister that calls for NICE to review its decision not to recommend the drug Orkambi for use in the NHS, in the light of new information.

In January, 556 people in Portsmouth South signed a petition to make Orkambi available on the NHS for people with Cystic Fibrosis. The petition has achieved in excess of 113,000 signatures nationwide, which has triggered a debate in Parliament, which will take place on the 19th of March.

Cystic Fibrosis is the UK’s most common life-threatening genetic condition that affects the lungs, digestive system and other organs. The build-up of mucus in the lungs causes chronic infections, meaning that people with cystic fibrosis struggle with reduced lung function. The average age of those with CF who died last year, was just 28.

Two years ago, a precision medicine called Orkambi, was approved for use by the EMA that can extend lives by treating the root cause of CF.

In July 2016, NICE recognised Orkambi as an ‘important treatment’ for CF, but refused Orkambi based on lack of long term data and the cost.

They stated that they would review the drug again, should any new data or reimbursement scheme be proposed.

Campaigners are asking that NICE and Department of Health and Social Care review Orkambi again now; as there is now further data that was not included in the July 2016 review, and that Vertex have put forward a ‘bold new offer’ in terms of reimbursement. 

Today in Parliament, Stephen met with Ian Austin, MP for Dudley North, who hosted a roundtable meeting with representatives from Vertex and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Stephen Morgan MP, said:

‘Cystic fibrosis is a debilitating condition and important new medicines such as Okrambi must be introduced with the utmost urgency – those suffering with CF should not have to wait for the Government to get its act together to access potentially life-saving treatment.


It is now the responsibility of the Government to facilitate the end of the deadlock ‘so that people can access Orkambi and see their lives transformed’


Stephen joined Portsmouth resident Gemma Weir, who lead the creation of the petition, as she delivered it to Downing Street.

He added:

‘My massive thanks to Gemma and the campaigners for the pressure they putting on decision-makers to ensure treatment is available to those who require it in Portsmouth and across the UK’.

Portsmouth Labour’s response to yesterday’s council meeting

Yesterday the Labour Group on the city council called for a “fairer city that works for everyone” at Full Council in its response to the Tory Administration’s proposals to cut council services by £4m in the next financial year.

In Labour response to the Tory budget, Cllr Stephen Morgan said:

“We must be ambitious to tackle the poverty and deprivation that means families have to use foodbanks, homelessness is ever rising, and life expectancy so variant across our city.

We must put social value at the heart of how the local authority contributes to the city’s economy. This means creating new jobs and apprenticeships, and commitments to fair pay, decent working conditions and support for local business”.

Labour’s two councillors presented an alternative budget which would save management and support overheads and reduce the cost of democracy, to help protect public services in the city. By doing this this would allow for extra funding to:

– create a new “neighbourhood fund” a pot of money set aside to take forward ideas from residents and practical projects with community groups to improve our city’s streets and neighbourhoods. This idea has come up from local people from Portsmouth Labour listening to views on the doorstep

– help protect adult social care services in the city. These services are under huge strain and need an extra financial boost would help these vital services our loved ones use and we will all rely on later in life.

Regretably the budget amendment was voted down by other political parties and the Administration’s budget was passed.

George Fielding talks about fly tipping in Southsea

No one who who has walked around the streets of Central Southsea Ward can have failed to notice the rubbish littering the place. With so much rental property, pavements are constantly strewn with household waste as a result of flats and houses being cleared out between tenancies. The council are doing what they can to remove it, but it’s clear it’s a big problem which doesn’t make our lives any easier.

However, there is a simple way people can help to address this and that’s by reporting it to them using the myPortsmouth app for smartphones. This allows you to take photos of the offending items, report the address and/or location to the council and they will then come and remove it.

As more and more houses are being turned into HMOs, (homes in multiple occupation), the problem is only going to get worse. I want to see the area clear of this nuisance and the streets free from hazards to pedestrians. Parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users, the visually impaired and those who use mobility scooters have an even worse time negotiating these obstacles, which cannot be right. The pavements are meant for us all to travel on, to get from place to place, they are not meant to be a never ending rubbish tip.

Reporting this nuisance and making sure its removal is enforced is something I am committed to. I also believe landlords should ensure their properties are cleared responsibly and be held accountable for any inappropriate waste – contributing towards the cost of its removal. I believe that only if this is enforced can we help to keep the council’s costs down and make our ward an even better place to live.

City MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

25 January 2018

This week Stephen Morgan MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people today.

Saturday 27 January will mark the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the lead up to and on Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘The power of words’.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Stephen Morgan MP commented:

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for people from Portsmouth and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust. 

As the Holocaust moves from living history, to just history, it becomes ever more important that we take the time to remember the victims and also pay tribute to the survivors. 

I would encourage my constituents to show their support for such an important day.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said:

“The Holocaust did not start in the gas chambers but with hate filled words. Our mission is to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and its contemporary relevance. 

We are very grateful to Stephen Morgan for signing the Book of Commitment, signalling a continued commitment to remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as challenging antisemitism, prejudice and bigotry in all its forms.”

Information about Holocaust Memorial Day is currently on display at Stephen’s constituency office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea.