Friday, 30 November 2012

Lib Dem Result "Worst Ever"

Clegg Led Lib Dems To Eighth Place In By-Election

The Liberal Democrats’ showing in the Rotherham by-election is the worst performance ever by a major political party, experts say, as support for Nick Clegg’s party slumped to eighth behind behind the BNP, Respect and the English Democrats.

No major political party had ever performed this poorly in a Westminster by-election. Rob Hayward, a by-elections’ expert, told The Daily Telegraph the Lib Dems’ showing in Rotherham was the worst “in any by election on record”.
He said “The Liberal Democrats performances in the three by-elections and their eighth place in Rotherham are the worst results for any major party in a series of by-elections ever. “A combination of eighth place and barely two per cent of the vote in Rotherham is the worst single performance by a major party in any by election on record."
The collapse of the Lib Dems’ vote came as evidence strengthened that the party has lost its place as the political repository for the traditional protest vote to UKIP.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Shopping List

Thanks to Cllr Chris Maskell for highlighting this leaflet.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Burglaries In East Reading: Update

This is a message from Thames Valley Alert Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police
Message sent by
Liz Herbert (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Reading LPA)

Over the past few days there have been a number of burglaries in the East Reading area:

22/11/12: 14.30-16.00 in Alexander Road, Reading:
Unknown offender has gained entry via unknown means and stole four laptops and chargers.

23/11/12-24/11/12 22.00-08.27 in Crescent Road, Reading:
Unknown offender has forced downstairs ground floor window and various property stolen .

23/11/12-24/11/12 17.00-10.43 in London Road, Reading:
Unknown offender has forced door and stole electrical equipment .

23/11/12 11.00am: Eastern Avenue, Reading:
Unknown offender has forced ground floor window and various property stolen.

24/11/12 23.30: Upper Redlands Road, Reading:
Unknown offender has tried to gain access via front door, no entry gained so smashed front window.
Offender possibly disturbed by neighbour and ran away.

23/11/12-25/11/12 17.00-20.00: Eldon Road, Reading:
Unknown offender has forced open window and stole various electrical items.

Please inform your NHW members and report any suspicious sightings,incidents or any information to The Thames Valley Enquiry Centre on 101 quoting URN1121 25/11/12.

Monday, 26 November 2012

So Rob, Where's The New School?

Wilson Working In Secret On Plans For New School
On 27 September a spokesperson for Reading East MP Rob Wilson told a public meeting called by Reading Borough Council to discuss about options regarding a projected shortfall of school places in the area that the absent MP was working on plans for a new school for the area - indeed, he was said to be "60% there" in his plans for a new 11-16 years school for east Reading".

So Rob, two months on, where are the plans for the new school?

I know you rejected my offer of help. That's OK. But there are still a lot of anxious parents in east Reading waiting to hear of your secret plans. So come on, tell them more - or at least a date when you will reveal all.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Burglaries In East Reading

Message sent by
Liz Herbert (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Reading LPA)

Over the past few days there have been a number of burglaries in the East Reading Neighbourhood Area:

19/11/12-20/11/12 08.00-18.45 in Eldon Road:

Unknown offender has gained entry via forced ground floor bedroom window and various property stolen.

19/11/12: Eastern Avenue:

Property has been found with window wide open and unknown what has been stolen.

18/11/12 22.20-02.25 Alexandra Road:

Unknown offender has gained entry via forced sliding window and various property stolen.

Please inform your NHW Members and report any suspicious sightings, incidents or any information to The Thames Valley Enquiry Centre on 101 quoting URN1540 19/11/12.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

3806 Homes Waiting To Be Built In Reading

Badly Needed New Homes Waiting To Be Built
As at 31 March 2012 there were 3,806 new housing units - "homes" - with planning permission in Reading, but not yet built.

Now while we know that some of these are on large active sites, such as Kennet Island or Dee Park, many seem stuck in the current malaise affecting the UK housing market.

This could be summarised as a lack of available credit for first-time buyers and those wishing to move the housing ladder, with bank and other lenders demanding huge deposits and high interest rates for those lucky few they deem worthy of a mortgage.

Nationally housebuilder Bovis is sitting on at least three years of plots. At current house buying activity levels, it may have more than five years' worth of plots for its mix of three to five bedroom family homes. They are not facing planning delays because they are all parcels of land with planning consent.

Other housebuilders are in the same position. They have bought plots in the aftermath of the crash and are only slowly releasing them for building as demand allows. Barratt Developments said lack of mortgage lending was holding back a "sustainable" increase in housebuilding as it reported strong first-half profits

The Bovis chief executive, David Ritchie, is clear. He could build many more homes if banks were willing to grant mortgages to homebuyers who have only small deposits.

So we have plots of land with planning permissions for new housing already granted, people in need of decent, affordable housing, unemployed building workers, and service industry businesses closing.

However, to get things started, there is no question where the barrier lies. Planning is a red herring. Credit, or the lack of it, stands in the way of demand and new housebuilding.

And yet what is the Coalition Government's response to all this? Cameron announces an end to the right of residents to challenge planning decisions!

Talk about looking at something through the wrong end of the telescope. You really couldn't make it up!

(Note: 3,806 new homes is roughly the size of the "old Redlands" area around the university.)


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Coalition Green Deal "In Tatters"

Barker: No One Has Signed Up For Coalition Green Deal 
The Coalition’s flagship green energy project is “in tatters” after a Government minister admitted that not a single household has registered for the deal.

The £125 million scheme launched in June 2011 by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker with claims that it would be “the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War” is now said to be in "lying in tatters" because no one has signed up for it.

The Green Deal is the Government’s flagship policy to make homes more energy efficient and – ultimately - cut energy bills, which have soared in recent years. This week British Gas raised prices for the 10 million homes it supplies, and other large companies have done the same.

Under the Green Deal people can borrow up to £10,000 from a private sector loan provider and have loft and wall insulation fitted in their homes. The loan is repaid over a period of up to 25 years through higher bills. The idea is that bills will fall once the loan has been paid off because the houses need less energy.

Central to the deal is the ‘golden rule’, which states that the expected savings that a homeowner ultimately makes must be equal to or greater than the cost of the work being done.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Children In Need: Is This Fair?

An analysis of the level of central government funding demostrates how the cuts have been biased against Labour controlled councils, despite having significantly more children in need.

A look at the councils in Berkshire shows that:

Labour controlled
Reading (with 21.7% children in poverty) has lost £81.47 per head between 2010/11 and 2012/13
Slough (22/7%) lost £86 per head

Conservative controlled
Wokingham (7%) lost £9.10 per head
Windsor & Maidenhead (9.9%) lost £15.20 per head
Bracknell (11.8%) lost £34.19 per head
West Berkshire(11.1%) lost £35.77 per head

Reading has lost 9 times the amount of govermnent support compared to Wokingham, despite having 3 times the number of children living in poverty.

I do hope neither of our Tory MPs pop up in the news exhorting us all to support tonight's Children In Need fund raising events, when their government are so biased against children in need in Reading.

However, if you do wish to donate to Children In Need click here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Have Your Say Meeting: 20 Nov 12

This is a message on behalf of Thames Valley Police
Message sent by
Liz Herbert (Police, NHW & Community Messaging Co-ordinator, Reading LPA)

This is a message from your local neighbourhood policing team they are holding the following meeting:Redlands & Park Have Your Say – Tuesday 20/11/12 – The Arch, Cemetery Junction 5-6pm
You are most welcome to attend if you have any issues or concerns.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Welcome Liz!

Liz Terry, Minster Ward
Reading's political blogosphere has another new member - welcome to Liz Terry, Labour councillor in Minster ward. You can find Liz's blog here. Smile at the bouquets and laugh at the brickbats Liz - then carry on blogging!
Liz and fellow ward councillors Paul Gittings and Marian Livingston are forming a formidable campaigning team in Minster ward. The council elections last May saw Minster move from a being a marginal to a relatively safe Labour seat. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

UTC Update

News update about UTC Reading from Lee Nicholls, Chair of Governors

UTC Reading is dedicated to Computer Science and Engineering. It is non-selective and will open in September 2013 with 60 Key Stage 4 places and 80 Key Stage 5 places, before growing over time to cater for 600 students.
Please see the new UTC Reading 2013/14 prospectus which provides more information on the UTC and the unique curriculum that we have to offer. I would also like to invite you to come along to one of our taster events to find out more. Here you will have the opportunity to meet the new Principal, Joanne Harper, who will outline her plans and ambitions for UTC Reading.
Our first taster event is taking place on 14 November 2012 at the partner premises of Reading College, Kings Road, Reading, RG1 4HJ from 5.30-8.30pm. Other events will take place on the following dates:
12 December 2012 Taster event hosted at industry partner Cisco
23 January 2013 Taster event hosted at industry partner Peter Brett Associates
14 March 2013 Taster event hosted at industry partner Microsoft
25 April 2013 Taster event hosted at industry partner Network Rail
16 May 2013 Taster event hosted at academic partner Reading College
More information can be found on our website:

Alternatively if you would like to talk to someone please call us on 0118 955 4544 or email
Lee Nicholls, Chair of Governors of UTC Reading


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest We Forget

Armistice Day At The Cenotaph, Forbury Gardens

This year Armistice Day fell on Remembrance Sunday, so while the Mayor of Reading, Cllr Jenny Rynn undertook the traditional civic role at Brock Barracks, the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Deborah Edwards led the two minutes silence at the cenotaph at the Forbury Gardens. It was heartening to see a good number of people of all ages in attendance.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ward Surgery - Saturday 10 November

St Lukes Parish Hall, Erleigh Road
Redlands Labour Councillors' regular Ward Surgery for residents will be at St Lukes Parish Hall, Erleigh Road, between 10.30am and noon tomorrow (Saturday).

No appointment is necessary and discussions are strictly confidential.

Ward surgeries are held on the second Saturday of each month, alternating between St Lukes Parish Hall and the Hexham Road Community Centre, in addition to our very popular roaming street surgeries all the year round.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Over Half Way

By most accounts this week marks half way through the life of this parliament - thirty months since the last general election in May 2010, and thirty months to go to the next one on Thursday 7 May 2015 - assuming that the coalition lasts until then.

I think for the government and perhaps many MPs in marginal seats, this will be a psychological milestone as they begin to realise that time is beginning to run out for them to be seen to be delivering change or having made an impact.

With the latest estimates suggesting that the government will miss its target of having debt fall as a share of GDP by 2015-16, total public borrowing during the five year lifetime of the government set to outstrip that of the total for the thirteen years of the previous Labour governments, and the billions spent on a series of quantitative easings doing nothing to help business borrowing but killing the value of savings and pensions pots, the political prospects for the coalition partners look equally bleak.

Come election time many may feel that all the hurt and pain levied will have been for nothing - and will  vote accordingly.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Govt "Unable To Commit" To Capping Care Costs

Government U-Turn On Promise To Cap Care Costs
A rising number of elderly people face losing “almost all of their wealth” to pay for social care, after the Government admitted it was “unable to commit” to a promised reform to the adult social care system.
The report, released this week, depicts a bleak picture of the future, with a growing number of pensioners slipping into poverty as they use up their savings to fund care costs.
An official review of the social care system published last year (the Dilnot report) recommended that the Coalition should introduce a cap of £35,000 on the maximum amount that people have to pay towards a nursing home. This would stop tens of thousands of people having to sell their homes to fund treatment.
Last summer Cameron and Clegg said they would introduce the proposed cap. However, the new report suggests the promise of a cash threshold is quietly being abandoned as this week's report from three government departments - the Department of Health, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government - say that the Government is “unable to commit” to the £35,000 cap.
The failure to cap care costs will lead to a growing number of people losing their life savings, the submission adds. Without more state help with care costs, officials believe that the number of older people forced to rely on families and friends will double by 2030. One in 10 people already has to pay more than £100,000 towards their care.