Thursday, 26 June 2014

More Residents' Parking In Redlands

New Road And The Mount To Have Residents' Parking
UPDATE: The New Road and Mount schemes are due to  go live on Monday 15 September.

Reading Council has agreed to introduce residents' parking schemes in New Road and The Mount.

Following the rejection of a ward-wide scheme a couple of years ago, Redlands Councillors Jan Gavin and Tony Jones have continued to listen to and work with residents who have asked for schemes in their streets.

Last year saw the extension of a scheme in Upper Redlands Road and now households in New Road and The Mount are also set to benefit from have schemes of their own introduced. 

The schemes are a direct consequence of councillors working with residents, in workshops, surveys and house meetings and professional advice from council officers. Each scheme is different, as the council recognises that no "one size fits all" often isn't the best plan.

Other streets are already in a similar process, so if you think you may benefit from a residents' parking scheme, contact Jan, Tony and David.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Speakers' Corner: Have Your Say

The Speakers' Corner project aims to promote freedom of speech, public debate and active citizenship as a means of revitalising civil society in the UK.

The launch of the Reading Speakers' Corner took place on Saturday 14 June in Market Place, was sadly interrupted and then truncated by heavy rain showers, but not before the Council’s Deputy Leader Tony Page had given Speakers’ Corner his blessing and a number of speakers braved the elements to express their views, notably about the blight of estate agents and the future of phone boxes.

The crowd then took refuge under the trees to listen to more speakers, including the town’s new Mayor Tony Jones whose unexpected visit was particularly welcome.

Speakers’ Corner events will now take place in Market Place, according to Speakers’ Corner Committee chair Tony Hoskins, “come rain or shine” every first Saturday in the month.
The portable Speakers’ Corner will also be used elsewhere around the town and taken out to Reading’s neighbourhoods.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

WW1 - Lights Out On 4 August

11pm on Monday 4 August marks the 100th anniversary of Britain's declaration of war with Germany.

In what could be a mass public "lights out" every household in Britain will be asked to turn out lights at that time to mark the centenary and replace them with a single light.

In Reading I will be asking if our street lights can be turned off or dimmed for a short period. 

Similarly businesses, particularly in the town centre, will be asked to join in at 11pm.

Note: Germany had declared war on France and invaded Belgium on August 3 1914. That evening, Sir Edward Grey gazed across St James's Park from his window at the Foreign Office as the lamps were being lit on the Mall. He turned to a friend, John Spender, and made his now famous remark "the lamps are going out all over Europe".

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Reading Bicycle Kitchen

Reading Bicycle Kitchen's HQ!
I had the good fortune to drop in on Reading Bicycle Kitchen recently.

The people behind this venture seem to be such an enthusiastic bunch. 

They have the tools, the work stands and the mechanics to help you get your bike fixed up. 

As they say "Whether it's a puncture, a niggle with your brakes or a complete rebuild" they are on hand to talk you through it - they won't do it for you, but will help you.

Open on Saturdays from 10am till 2pm and Thursday evenings from 6pm to 9pm, why not drop in and see how they can help you. 

Good luck to them, they show Reading at it's best!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Mayor of Reading, 2014/15

Mayor making at Reading Town Hall, 11 June 2014
I am very grateful and proud to have become Mayor of Reading for a second time. This is a great honour which I do not take for granted. Thank you everyone.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Nurses' Pay: A National Disgrace

All In It Together?
This year the NHS Pay Review Body recommended a 1% increase to hourly rates for all NHS staff in the UK. 

However, the Department of Health has ignored this for staff in England and instead announced a 1% ‘non-consolidated’ pay award for those NHS staff on the top of their bands. 

This means that pay scales in 2016 will be the same in 2013. Those staff who are not yet at the top of their band, around 60%, will get no cost of living increase from 1 April.

I'm angry that hardworking NHS staff are being told that they are not worth a decent pay rise. After three years of pay freeze they are now falling even further behind increases in the cost of living.

This year’s NHS pay offer means:
·         different rates of pay in different parts of the UK
·         only those at the top of their band get a pay rise, with nothing added to hourly rates
·         incremental progression being used as a substitute for the cost of living uplift.

I want the Westminster government to provide proper funding for the NHS and to work across the four UK governments to deliver a settlement which:
·         begins to reinstate the value of NHS pay lost since 2010
·         pays the Living Wage to the lowest paid health staff
·         reinstates UK-wide pay scales, lifting pay up to the best achievable rates
·         commits all four countries to national bargaining structures, thus maintaining and promoting Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

I believe that the public deserves a quality NHS with staff that are well motivated and properly rewarded for the vital work they do; with hospitals that have enough staff to ensure patients are safe; and with a workforce that is properly trained and equipped to deliver quality healthcare in the 21st century.

We want ministers to properly fund the NHS to ensure this happens across the UK. 
Please can you ask Jeremy Hunt to rethink this divisive pay strategy.   

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Income Inequality In The UK

I know "economics" can be boring for some people - but I think this is worth a watch.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Where Others Dream, Labour Delivers

We've heard lots recently from the minor political parties on Reading Council about their dreams of introducing 20 MPH speed limits in residential streets.

Well, while they've been dreaming, Redlands Labour Councillors have been getting on with the job and working with council officers to make dreams a reality!

We've had the odd street limited to 20 mph in the past, but now the council is consulting on an effective "East Reading Zone" - which in Redlands means an area bounded by Kendrick Road to Eastern Avenue and London Road to Elmhurst Road and Upper Redlands Road.

More information can be found at:

Consultation closes on 13 June 2014.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Pete Ruhemann - A Labour Stalwart

Pete Ruhemann - A Labour Stalwart
It is with great sadness it is noted that Councillor Pete Ruhemann passed away in the early hours of this morning.

Councillor Ruhemann served as a Reading Borough Council Councillor since May 1997 and previously served as a Berkshire County Council Member since 1985.

Councillor Tony Page, Deputy Leader at Reading Borough Council, said:

“Pete was devoted to serving his Southcote constituents ever since his first election in 1985. He was a great listener and got to the heart of problems and took enormous satisfaction in helping people. No problem was too much. Pete was a thoroughly loyal and dependable colleague who will be sorely missed by family, friends and the wider community. Our thoughts are with Jo at this very sad time.”

Stalwart: loyal, reliable and hard-working.

FUNERAL UP-DATEPete's funeral will be held on Monday 16th June at 2.30pm at the Henley Road Crematorium. Allowing for a slightly longer service this will be followed by a reception from 4/4.30pm onwards at the Southcote Youth & Community Centre, Coronation Square, RG30 3QP