Stephen Morgan MP has joined local representatives from Portsmouth in a bid to promote the interests of one of the city’s most valued assets – Portsmouth International Port.
The local-born MP met with key figures at the event in Westminster and where discussions took place about value of the port for the city’s economy, importance of keeping it at the forefront of the Government agenda and the positive effect it has on local services as well as highlighting no-deal concerns.
Mr Morgan said:
“Portsmouth international Port is a vital employer, an essential financial asset to our local economy and a gateway where products needed by our nation first land in the UK.
But it also so much more. It is part of our identity and the namesake of our city.
From 2017-18, the Port’s total gross value-added contribution to the local economy is nearly £190 million and for every £1 million the Port contributed in the region, this generated another £400,000”.
Following the event, Mr Morgan stressed the need to adequately fund the port at this time of uncertainty and the need for the Government to take heed of warnings in the case of a ‘catastrophic’ no-deal.
Mr Morgan said:
“No-deal would be utterly catastrophic for Portsmouth and the Government has done nowhere near enough when it comes to offering support to the Port.
No-deal likely to turn our city into a congested lorry park and could see supermarket shelves in the Channel Islands stripped bear of fresh produce in just days.
No-deal preparations are costing the city council around £4 m and no indication of how and when this funding will be reimbursed has been offered by the Government.
That is why I have written countless letters to the Department for Transport, MHCLG and Brexit Department asking for detailed analysis on no-deal preparations and information about when funding can be allocated.”
The Port, which is owned by Portsmouth City Council, brings in finances which are then used to fund vital local services. Something that Mr Morgan praised during his speech.
The city MP said:
“From helping our schools get the resources they need to providing funding for adult social care – the money generated by the Port for council coffers is intrinsic to our community’s wellbeing.
At a time when local authorities have lost 60 pence out of every pound they previously received from Government – these funds could not be more integral to the running of our city.”
Experts have warned that municipal ports such as the one in Portsmouth have not received the correct levels of funding and planning due to problems with Government calculations. This has given rise to claims that ports such as Dover are receiving disproportionate amounts of government attention.
In relation to municipal Ports, Mr Morgan said:
“In 2017, the Port handled a staggering 3.9 million tonnes of goods, making it the 25th largest UK port in terms of cargo volume. Solidifying our city on the map as a regional power house and a formidable trading post.
As it stands, we see a conversation saturated by talks about Dover, while these talks are essential, we must all work together to ensure that Portsmouth International Port and others have their voice heard.
So far I have written to three Government departments countless times to raise this point and I will ensure that I continue to act as a voice for the city’s Port in Parliament.”