Saturday, 28 April 2012

Labour's Manifesto For The 2012 Borough Council Elections

Fighting for a fair deal for Reading in tough times

Labour’s manifesto for the Borough Council elections, says Labour Leader Jo Lovelock, includes detailed commitments across the full range of Council services, commitments that Labour knows it can meet despite the huge financial pressures on the Council. “Our first promise in these tough times,” she says, “is to be upfront with people about what can and can’t be done, and to continue to involve residents in deciding what the priorities are.”

Faced with unfair cuts from central government, who have taken £73 away from every Reading resident as compared with £16 in Tory Wokingham, Cllr. Lovelock says, Reading needs a Council which will fight for a fair deal for Reading. “But,” she says, “Labour will do its best to protect people where we can and we can make sure that the Council’s priorities are those of Reading people: working with businesses to bring jobs to the town; clean, safe streets; protection for the most vulnerable; and efficient, well-run services.”

Labour’s key pledges in this election are to:

■Fight for a new secondary school for all 11 – 18 year olds in East Reading

■Keep Reading clean with a crackdown on graffiti and fly-tipping

■Promote jobs and investment

■Use the Council’s watchdog powers to stand up for the NHS

■Protect Reading’s green spaces

■Continue to involve the public more effectively

■Find further efficiency savings

■Restore free OAP bus travel from 9am

■Protect libraries, youth clubs and children’s centres

■Promote environmental responsibility – the Council will lead by example and encourage others

■Create a New Local Partnership to stand up for Reading

Cllr. Lovelock says that with the wheels coming off the Tory-LibDem government, it is even more important for Reading Council to be run for Reading people and not just there to make the cuts Whitehall demands. She is hoping for a working majority to give Labour the mandate to stand up for Reading

Read the full manifesto here.

Monday, 16 April 2012

East Reading Secondary School Petition Goes To Cabinet

Technical Academy: Wrong Answer For East Reading
The petition calling on the Government to reconsider the decision to only fund a new technology based 14-19 secondary school in east Reading and instead to invest in an 11 to 19 years comprehensive school which will offer a high quality, wide ranging curriculum to all young people in the area, will go to Reading Council's Cabinet tonight.
The petition was launched last November and is being submitted to seek the Council's support, to coincide with the formal “consultation” into Rob Wilson MP’s plans for a “technical academy”.

The Crescent Road site is the obvious site for a new school for East Reading but building a school there just for the 14-19 age-group is educational madness. Where are the 11-13 year-olds supposed to go, if the Government won’t fund a school for them and has built on the only site?

And it seems to have changed from being a school for East Reading, to one which is simply based in East Reading with a catchment area from Basingstoke to High Wycombe.

There is immense public feeling about this and I know that Reading’s Labour Council will continue to press this case to Government.

Labour candidate for Park Ward Rachael Chrisp, who has also leafleted residents to ask for feedback on the plans, adds “Nobody locally understands why this is only 14-19, not 11-19, nobody can see any sense in that. And people are very worried about plans to sell off the Crescent Road playing fields to pay for this scheme, which Mr Wilson and his colleagues seem to be pursuing even though it’s against the Council’s planning policies.”

The formal consultation kicks off at an hour long meeting at Thatcham Town Football Club this Wednesday.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

We're All In This Together

Well, what else would you expect from a Coalition Government led by a bunch of out of touch toffs? The multi-millionaires Cameron, Clegg and Osborne - all the same.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Not A Local School For East Reading

View Larger Map Apparently public consultation on the new Technical Academy is due to start today and run until 11 May.

Of course, the final proposals bear little resemblance to the original promise by Rob Wilson for a new school for east Reading.

Instead the Technical Academy (down-graded from the planned University Technical College, following the withdrawal by the University of Reading as a co-sponsor) will have a catchment area of a 15 miles radius from their target site at Crescent Road - or, given that the site has not yet been bought, somewhere inside or outside of Reading.

But if they only take "half the site" at Crescent Road, does the funding stack up for the land-owner without seeking to build on the other half?

I'm also led to understand that the "sub-regional" school will restrict the number of admissions by post code within the catchment area, so as not to scare the other secondary school heads. 

All this hardly fulfils the promise of a new school for east Reading does it Mr Wilson? UPDATE: In case you don't see it anywhere else, the link to the public consultation is here