Friday, 31 August 2012

UTC Reading - Planning Exhibition On 5 September

Statement issued by UTC Reading

We are delighted to announce that UTC Reading (previously known as Reading Technical Academy) has gained Funding Agreement approval from the Schools Minister, Lord Hill. This is another milestone towards the opening of UTC Reading in September 2013.

Having procured the site for the UTC at Crescent Rd in East Reading, we are now pushing ahead with the refurbishment of the facilities. In advance of our planning submission we are holding an exhibition on 5th September to share the design scheme being proposed and to gain feedback from the community and other stakeholders. The planning exhibition will be held at Reading College on Wednesday 5th September between 6pm and 8pm. Please see attached for a flyer with further details.

For information:
What is a UTC?
A University Technical College (UTC) is an innovative school that provides education for students aged 14 to 19 and offers specialist programmes alongside traditional subjects. It is supported by a University and high profile academic and industry partners who are involved in every aspect of the UTC, including the development of the curriculum.

About UTC Reading
UTC Reading will specialise in computer science and software engineering, taught alongside the national curriculum. This means that students get the benefit of practical study of the specialist subjects whilst still taking the GCSE’s and A-levels that they would take at a regular school; getting the best of both worlds. The specialist curriculum proposed by the UTC will appeal to secondary school-aged pupils interested in computer science and/or engineering who are keen on pursuing and developing their talents.

UTC Reading will accommodate 600 students when at full capacity. The location at Crescent Road is in a central position to serve the proposed wide catchment area, which includes young people within a 15 mile radius of postcode RG1 5RQ in East Reading, extending to Newbury, Slough, Basingstoke and Farnborough. UTC Reading’s site offers extensive playing fields for sport and recreational activities, to ensure that the 14 to 19 year olds starting in September 2013 have all of the facilities for the planned programme of extra-curricular activities. The recruitment drive to appoint a new principal for UTC Reading is also underway and the sponsors plan to have the chosen candidate in post on January 2013, to be in place to spearhead the launch. Other teaching and support staff will be recruited soon after.

Making all of this happen is a committed partnership made up of sponsors and partners. These include the Lead Sponsor, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College, as well as Reading College, Reading School, the University of Reading, Microsoft, Cisco, Network Rail and Peter Brett Associates. Together the sponsor and partners believe they can help create a new kind of facility for 14 to 19 year olds, that brings together the combination of education and industry to give them the best possible start in their professional life.


UTC Reading Team

For general queries contact us at:
For admissions queries contact us at:

Lib Dems Split 47%/46% On Clegg's Future

Nick Clegg's grip on the Lib Dem leadership appears to be weakening faster than anyone would have thought.

A new survey conducted by the influential Lib Dem Voice "will make deeply uncomfortable reading for Nick Clegg" as it shows that while 47% of Lib Dem members say they want Nick Clegg to lead the party into the next election, almost exactly the same proportion – 46% – want him to resign as Lib Dem leader before then.

LDV says "the Coalition’s troubles — from the unravelling of George Osborne’s budget to the collapse of Lords reform — means many more Lib Dems are increasingly unhappy about being in alliance with the Tories" and that "For many, in our party and beyond, Nick Clegg personifies the Coalition. And just as party members are now starting to look ahead to post-Coalition times, so are folk also starting to think whether life would be any easier for the party without Nick at the helm."

Thursday, 30 August 2012

"Clegg Must Go" Says Senior Lib Dem

Calls For Clegg To Go Begin To Mount 

Nick Clegg must be ousted as leader by the Liberal Democrats if they are to avoid electoral disaster in 2015, according to a senior party figure.
Lord Oakeshott, a close ally of Business Secretary Vince Cable, said it was time to review the party's "strategy and management" after it lost more than half its "market share" in the polls.

Protest voters and Labour supporters who chose to vote tactically for the Liberal Democrats in 2010 have since abandoned the party and its support has slumped from 24% at the general election to around 11%, figures.

The peer said: "We have lost over half our market share, if you like to put it that way if we had been Sainsburys, since the election and any business that had done that would be looking very hard now at both its strategy and its management to see how we get some of that back because otherwise we are going to lose a large number of seats at the next election."

(photo: Daily Telegraph)

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Lib Dems Face Near Wipeout In 2015

The Lib Dems are facing a near parliamentary wipeout at the next general election, according to a respected indepedent pollster.
Peter Kellner, the president of YouGov, said the party was on course to return just 10 MPs to Westminster after the 2015 election if it remained adrift on 10 per cent of the vote.
The Lib Dems have failed to regain the support they lost immediately after agreeing to form a coalition with the Conservatives after the 2010 election.
Mr Kellner said "Most people – and a huge majority of Lib Dem deserters – say they don't know what the party stands for, and think it has broken its promises."
There is no doubt that in Redlands and in Reading East, Labour picked up disaffected former Lib Dem supporters at the 2011 and 2012 council elections - and is continuing to do so.
The door is always open!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Turning The Golden Triangle Red

New Methods In Reading East
My understanding is that the next round of municipal elections in Reading will be held on the same day as the European Parliament elections, probably on Thursday 5 June 2014.
If that is the case, those existing councillors up for election will benefit from an extra month in office.

Whenever the date is, we could see a set of elections where all three opposition party leaders are seeking re-election at the same time - and all in a golden triangle of adjoining wards in east Reading.

The juicy prospect - assuming none cut and run - of taking on Tim Harris (Tory)  in Church, Rob White (Green) in Park and Daisy Benson (LibDem) in Redlands is already an issue causing some of us to stiffen our sinews and summon up our bloods.

While others may slumber, we will use each of the next 93 weeks to over-turn these incumbents and bring the council seats back home to Labour. New campaigning techniques, some of which have already been piloted to good effect by Duncan Bruce and Richard Davies in Caversham, are being rolled out with more to come.

The work undertaken by Mike Orton in helping to hold Church ward together through their doldrums is now paying off with two energetic councillors in Paul Woodward and Eileen McGelligott establishing a firm platform to take the third seat from the Tories.

Rachael  Chrisp has already shown that Park ward isn't the Green stronghold they may wish to portray it as, winning enough Labour votes last May to have got her elected in many other wards. With time to build on that base and demonstrate the lack of influence the three Greens now have on the Council, should see more residents turn away from their odyssey of protest and elect a new Labour councillor in 2014.

What was clear for all to see at the elections last May was that the LibDems gave up on Redlands and no longer have the capacity to beat a far better organised Labour team. Whatever brave face they try to put on things, the LibDems will become increasingly disheartened as they are left to   plough the lonely furrow to inevitable defeat. That bright optimism of the Downing Street rose garden will be long gone and with no AV or Lords reform to point to for selling their political souls and nothing to redeem a shrinking, split organisation in Reading.

To Tim, Rob and Daisy I say make the most of the time you have left, enjoy the extra month and if your last campaigns are conducted with dignity, rather than desperation, you may salvage some honour and respect as you leave office.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Graph Of Doom And The Cap That Doesn't Fit

Adult and Children's Services Consume Total Council Budget

Earlier this year Barnet Council produced what they called the "Graph of Doom" which suggested that within 20 years, unless things change dramatically, the council will be unable to provide any services except Adult Social Care and Children’s Services.

No libraries, no parks, no leisure centres – not even bin collections.

Here in Reading the net Adult Social Care budget alone is already 36% of the council's total budget of £120million. In other words, £44million must be found in 2012/13 to support 4,000 service users, from a population of 160,000 people. This has increased from £33million in 2007/08. At this rate of increase Reading is on a similar path to Barnet.

While the coalition government has recently suggested that a "Dilnot cap" of £35,000 on the care bills that adults will pay over their lifetimes may be possible, with the state picking up the remaining costs, the proposals are not expected to be introduced before 2017.

However, as councils fear they will be expected to cover much of the increased costs without pound for pound support from central government, John Redwood has pointed out that the cap does not cover accommodation costs, so people could spend far more than £35,000 before the cap takes effect.

In some parts of the country, particularly southern England (including Reading), many care homes already charge more than the local council is prepared to pay, meaning that even residents who get their fees paid by the state still have to top it up. At present councils pay around £461 a week, including accommodation, for people who qualify for residential care. But in southern England weekly fees average at £817 a week, or £42,500 a year.

Redwood calculates that only £271 a week paid by the resident would count toward the cap. That would mean it would take two and a half years before they are judged to have spent £35,000, by which time they would have racked up bills of £105,500. Even then the resident would only get their care costs paid up to the level set by the council. Over four years the resident would still have had to pay £149,000 even with a cap, compared with £170,000 without a cap.

The challenges facing families and councils are immense, so let's not pretend these latest proposals will "solve the riddle of paying for our elderly relatives to be cared for in nursing homes".

Friday, 3 August 2012

Wilson's Defeat Is Top Read

Since relaunching this site, the post below has attracted the highest number of page views.
Reading East may not be in Labour's Top 100 Target Seats to win at the next General Election, but as the Tories' fortunes continue to tumble and the in-fighting becoming more public, I reckon winning the seat back on 7 May 2015 is within reach. Enjoy!

Wilson Can Be Beaten In Reading East

Wilson Acting As Hunt's "Bag Man" At Leveson Inquiry
Robert Wilson has been a lucky man. He won the Reading East seat by squeak in 2005 and hasn't faced a serious challenge since.

Having slipped down the Westminster greasy pole from Shadow Front Bencher to Bag Man (sorry, PPS) to a Junior Minister with much to answer at the Leveson Inquiry, his political carrier is in a bit of a tail-spin.

Locally, the Reading East Conservative Association and their Councillors have faced splits and the threat of law suits.

Meanwhile Wilson has tried to boost his local popularity by proposing a new University Technical College for East Reading - only to subsequently distance himself from the plan as the project is forced to be downgraded to a Technical Academy with a huge catchment area from Basingstoke to Wycombe!

With continuing confusion over which parcels of land may or may not be used for the education establishment at Crescent Road - and, disturbingly, what trade-offs will have to made to housing developers, Wilson's part in this has a long way to run yet.

Not content with that, he then further grubs around for votes in the dirt by sticking his nose in the relocation of the Civic Offices to no great effect as the Conservative Councillors at RBC agreed that Plaza West is the best option.

The guy is vulnerable locally and, with the continuing decline in Tory support and organisation, can be beaten at the General Election in 2015. With the Lib Dems also disintegrating, it is entirely plausible for Labour to go from third place to first in less than three years time.

To do that, we have to find the right candidate. In my opinion, that means we have to find a strong local candidate. Residents in Reading East deserve better than Wilson and Labour must answer that call.

(Photo credit: AP)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Police: More Have Your Say Meetings

This is a message from your local Neighbourhood Policing Team

More "Have Yor Say" meetings will be held in Redlands and the surrounding area on:
6 August
5pm - 6pm at the Co-op shop, Erleigh Road
7 August
3pm - 4pm at the Subway shop, Wokingham Road
6pm - 7pm at the corner of Cardigan Road & Addington Road
16 August
1pm - 2pm at the RBH, Craven Road entrance