Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan, local councillors and Labour campaigners were out in force this morning at Fratton station to hear views as many commuters returned to work and their daily travel after the festive season.
Campaigners were talking with commuters about increasing fares yet increasingly overcrowded rail services and Labour’s plan for a better deal for our rail.
Last year saw cancelled or significantly late services at their highest level in 17 years.
- Labour has released analysis of overcrowded rail services, which reveals that:
- Overcrowding on our railways is at one of the highest levels since records began.
- The top 10 most overcrowded peak train routes are on average 187 per cent in excess of capacity; an increase of over 25 per cent since 2011.
- The most overcrowded route in 2016 was the 07:16 Southern service from East Grinstead to London Bridge. The service had nearly double (191 per cent) the number of passengers on the train as the service is designed to be able to carry.
- The top 10 most overcrowded peak train routes will be an average of over 207 per cent in excess of capacity by the end of the parliament.
Following talking with commuters and campaigners today, city MP Stephen Morgan said:
“The Government’s shambolic mismanagement of our railways has been a national embarrassment.
Prices are rising, performance is in decline, promised investment has been scrapped and industrial relations have worsened.
Government rail policy has not delivered affordable fares, decent services or value for money for taxpayers we need to see here in Portsmouth, meaning our city’s commuters suffer”.
Labour want to see the entire network to be brought back into public ownership, so that the railways are run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers not private profit.
Mr Morgan added:
“Passengers, our economy and our environment need affordable fares and reliable services, which Tory policy is failing to deliver.
Labour would take our railway back into public ownership as franchises expire, using savings to cap fares, and would upgrade and expand the rail network”.
Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said:
“Under the Tories, fares have risen three times faster than average wages and severe disruption has blighted the network meaning services are often delayed or cancelled.
It’s outrageous that passengers are being hit with yet another above-inflation fares rise following such a miserable year on the railway. Making passengers pay more to travel on increasingly overcrowded trains is simply not sustainable.
The Government’s blind obsession with privatisation is putting the future of the railway at risk”.
City MP Stephen Morgan has shared his frustration about the missed opportunity in yesterday’s budget to invest in Portsmouth schools.
The Portsmouth South MP has been working with others to lobby Ministers for proper funding for the city’s schools.
As a former pupil of schools in his constituency and ex-chair of governors, he has been visiting local schools to hear current concerns and challenges faced by heads, teachers and support staff.
Responding with disappointment to the Chancellor’s announcement on schools in the Budget Statement in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Morgan said:
“This was the Government’s opportunity to change course and properly fund the schools our children deserve. Instead the Tories have failed children once again.
I’m stunned that the Government would disregard hundreds of thousands of teachers, parents, heads and governors calling for a reversal of cuts – including a growing number here in Portsmouth.
More and more people in our city are backing my Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign.
Yesterday the Chancellor let our city down. But the people of Portsmouth can rest assured, that for me, the fight for fairer funding for our city’s schools goes on”.
The budget provided no money whatsoever to plug the gap in core school finances. Instead 17,942 schools faced cuts yesterday and 17,942 schools continue to face cuts today. In Portsmouth 50 schools are affected by government cuts.
In recent weeks education unions have been lobbying Ministers for extra resources for children with special educational needs and disabilities who need urgent education. More than 2,000 children are still awaiting appropriate provision. But there was no attempt by the Government in the Budget to address the crisis in SEND.
Responding to the Chancellor’s promise of “little extras” for school buildings and equipment, Mr Morgan added:
“The one-off sums offered for so called ‘little extras’ simply don’t cut it when our schools are in disrepair after years of cuts. The school capital budget was down by £2.6 billion compared to 2010. With Hammond’s little extras, it will still be down by £2.1 billion.
I know, like me, parents, teachers and governors will be disappointed by announcements yesterday. Portsmouth’s schools deserve better”.
As a result of the budget the City MP plans to escalate his campaign to reverse school cuts in Portsmouth in the coming weeks.
Years of austerity mean the consequences for Britain are piling up. Our NHS has been pushed to the brink with waiting times soaring; our social care system is in crisis; teachers are reliant on parents to fund school supplies, and crime is rising at a record rate.
Today the Chancellor presented his budget in the House of Commons. For the last eight years, the Tories have made cut after cut to the detriment of our communities.
In advance of the Government statement, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South Stephen Morgan set out his demands of the Chancellor for Portsmouth, building on his efforts locally and in Parliament. His priorities set out publicly are:
1) Stop the £3.7m cuts to Portsmouth’s schools
2) Properly equipped Royal Navy, recruiting the sailors our Carriers need
3) Bobbies back on the beat, policing cuts cancelled
4) Tackling the social care crisis and proper funding for our local NHS
5) Devolution for Solent to unlock growth and develop infrastructure
6) Protect local services and restore millions axed from city council’s budget
Unfortunately, none of them have been fully met by the Government in the Chancellor’s statement today.
Reacting to the Chancellor’s 2018 Budget, Stephen Morgan MP said:
“If the PM thinks austerity is over, she clearly forgot to tell her Chancellor.
Today saw a raft of sticking plasters for the big issues that matter most to people in Portsmouth. Our city’s police and schools are still on course for devastating cuts and Portsmouth has been left behind yet again.
The Chancellor referred to helping schools with an ‘extra bit of kit’. Well, I don’t class our hardworking teachers and school staff as ‘extra kit’ and frankly, £10k per primary won’t pay their wages. It’s never been more obvious just how out of touch this Government is.
Some extra money for defence is welcome, but with a £20bn black hole, £1bn is nothing but a sticking plaster. Our armed forces remain overstretched and unvalued.
As much as the Chancellor tries to dress this up as a win for working people, the fact is he’s cut tax for higher-rate earners and found nothing for the services that families in Portsmouth depend on to keep them safe, educated and healthy.
Ultimately, the Tories’ actions speak louder than their words and this budget saw more new money for a no-deal Brexit and potholes than our NHS, schools, and police combined.
With the deficit set to rise again next year and permanent stagnated growth, it’s clear austerity isn’t working. More of the same from the Tories simply won’t do; sadly, that’s exactly what Portsmouth got today.”
City MP Stephen Morgan joined Karen Buck MP yesterdayin Parliament to support her Private Members Bill that will improve living standards for thousands of tenants in Portsmouth.
The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill, which is in its final stages, aims to improve standards in rental properties by placing an obligation on landlords, across the private and social rented sectors, to ensure that their homes are fit for human habitation.
It aims to empower tenants by giving them a right to take action in the courts if this is not fulfilled.
The bill has received high levels of support from MPs, who gave their support on a ‘sitting Friday’, resulting in it now making it to the next stage (further reading).
Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Portsmouth has a high percentage of both private and social tenants.
Currently, landlords have no obligation to their tenants to put or keep the property in a condition fit for habitation and this simply isn’t good enough.
Some renters face poor quality and unsuitable conditions. My postbag is regularly filled with concerns about this across our city.
If this bill is passed it will give tenants in Portsmouth and across the country more protection over the safety and condition of their rented properties”.
MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, has pledged his support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Portsmouth remain open in what are difficult times for small business.
Stephen is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the budget. With £1 in every £3 spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but only drink 12% of the beer.
Breweries and pubs support 2124 jobs in Portsmouth and contribute £44.6 million to the local economy.
Commenting on the campaign, Stephen Morgan MP said:
“Pubs are at the heart of communities in Portsmouth, but with three British pubs closing their doors for good every day the Government needs to cut beer tax to keep them open.
With my ‘pint with your MP’ sessions bringing politics to the local, it’s clear to me how central pubs are to tackling loneliness and connecting our communities.
The Government must do more to protect them.”
Stephen Morgan MP has called for Portsmouth’s parents, governors, teachers and school staff to join him in telling the Education Secretary Damian Hinds the impact Government cuts are having on schools in the city.
As part of Stephen’s Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign, and ahead of the Budget next week, the city MP is providing a template letter to concerned constituents enabling them to lobby the Secretary of State directly.
Portsmouth schools are due to lose £3.7m over the next few years, with per pupil funding cut by 8% since 2010. Stephen Morgan has been campaigning for the Tories to restore proper funding to the city and has issued a call to action to parents and teachers as the Autumn budget approaches.
Stephen Morgan MP, said:
“With the budget just a week away, it’s more important than ever that the Government hears directly from parents and teachers about the impact their cuts are having.
In Portsmouth, we’ve seen class sizes rise and budgets slashed. In some cases, parents are being asked to pay for basic supplies like glue sticks. It’s unacceptable, and I’m keeping up the fight for fairer funding.
I know how passionate parents in our city are about their children’s futures – it’s time for the Tories to hear from them what’s happening on the ground and in our classrooms.”
Constituents are also encouraged to sign up to Stephen’s campaign and show their support by displaying ‘a Portsmouth Against School Cuts’ poster in their window.
To receive a copy of the poster residents can email, pop into Stephen’s office at 72 Albert Road, Southsea PO5 2SL to collect one or download a school cuts file here.
A copy of the letter can be here: Letter template
TO TELL THE EDUCATION SECRETARY THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ON SCHOOL CUTS, COMPLETE AND SEND THE SUGGESTED LETTER BELOW
Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
20 Great Smith Street
Dear Secretary of State for Education,
Reverse Portsmouth school cuts now
I am writing about next week’s budget and am backing my local MP Stephen Morgan’s efforts to deliver more funding for Portsmouth schools and colleges.
Since 2010, there has been an 8 per cent cut in real terms in per pupil funding. This has had an enormous impact on education, leaving our schools in crisis.
In this budget, I am asking you to support my MP’s Portsmouth Against School Cuts campaign and take the necessary steps to urgently address the funding crisis.
Under your Government, Portsmouth is set to lose £3.7m in the coming years affecting 50 schools in our city.
Your budget next week must ensure that every school is guaranteed at least the same money per pupil, in real terms, as they did in 2015. Funding must also be increased for high needs and early years pupils. This must be genuine new money for schools, not funds taken from other areas of education spending.
Last week was ‘Love our Colleges’ week. In addition to funding for schools, Portsmouth’s fantastic further education colleges, who have suffered even bigger cuts since 2010, need proper investment.
Please invest in Portsmouth’s future by backing our teachers and their pupils with the resources they need.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Name of constituent and address