Thursday, 29 January 2015

New Law Used To Close Nuisance House

Last year we met residents at one of our regular Saturday morning surgeries to discuss this problem ... this is the result!

From the Reading Chronicle - 29 January 2015

New law used for first time to close down nuisance house

A house has been closed down after neighbours were subjected to months of excessive noise, rowdy and intimidating behaviour.
It is the first time new laws to prevent anti-social behaviour have been invoked in the town.
Drug dealing was also a common occurrence out of the house in Cardigan Road, near Cemetery Junction, East Reading.
The anti-social behaviour led to a Closure Notice being issued by police in conjunction with Reading Borough Council.
The notice was last Friday under anti-social behaviour laws introduced in the ASB Crime and Policing Act 2014, removing the tenants for 24 hours. An application to extent the period for three months was granted by Reading Magistrates Court on Saturday.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: “It means access to the property is now restricted and the occupiers cannot enter the property for the duration of the 3 month order.
“A further application can be made to extend this period by another 3 months if needed.”
Liz Terry, Lead Councillor for Neighbourhoods said: “This is the first time that this order has been used in Reading and I hope that it will act as warning to others involved in anti-social behaviour.
“We will use all the powers available to us to ensure that our law-abiding residents are protected from people who behave badly and disrupt the peace of our neighbourhoods.”
Inspector Aziz of Thames Valley Police said: “This address was the subject of numerous complaints of anti-social behaviour and drug use.
“The local Neighbourhood Police Team executed a Drugs Warrant at this address, and following this, working closely with our partners in the Council, we have now secured respite for residents in the street by closing down this property through the courts utilising new legislation.”

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Reading Council Elections 2015: Labour Candidates

With the local council elections now within one hundred days, Reading Labour Party has released it's line up for wards across the town.

The list includes nine councillors seeking to defend seats they already hold, four former councillors, including one former mayor, hopeful of returning to the civic office benches and two new candidates.

Gurvinder Kaur is hoping to join her father Daya Pal Singh as a councillor in Kentwood, while Chris Maskell is expecting to maintain the father / daughter alliance with Sarah Hacker in Battle ward.

Former mayor Richard Stainthorp is standing in the Thames ward, while former mayoress Mary Waite is looking forward to return to her former stomping ground in Caversham.

Labour leader Jo Lovelock said "We always take the council elections in Reading seriously. This year, of course, voters will be also casting their votes for the town's two parliamentary seats as well, so as well as all the national debate, we will be reminding people of our strong track record of delivering quality services in Reading in spite of the massive cuts made to the council's budget by the coalition government over the past five years."

"We are confident, but never complacent, that voters in Reading will recognise the work of the Labour led council and return our strong and experienced team of existing councillors as well as very possibly adding to our numbers in seats where Labour is seeking to replace opposition parties."  

Abbey - Mohammed Ayub - existing councillor
Battle - Chris Maskell - existing councillor
Caversham - Mary Waite - former councillor in Caversham
Church - Paul Woodward - existing councillor
Katesgrove - Matt Rodda - existing councillor
Kentwood - Gurvinder Kaur - new candidate, daughter of Cllr Daya Pal Singh
Minster - Paul Gittings - existing councillor
Norcot - Graeme Hoskin - existing councillor
Park - David Dymond - former councillor in Minster
Peppard - Leighton Yeo - former councillor in Minster
Southcote - Matthew Lawrence - existing councillor
Redlands - Jan Gavin - existing councillor
Tilehurst - Matt Harrison - new candidate
Thames - Richard Stainthorp - former councillor and Mayor
Whitley - Kelly Edwards - existing councillor

Monday, 12 January 2015

RBH: A&E Crisis On Our Doorstep

At the end of last week the BBC was reporting that only 80.7% of patients in Accident and Emergency at the Royal Berkshire Hospital were being seen with the government bench-mark waiting time of 4 hours. 

This compared to the national target of 95% and a current average in English hospitals of 86.7%. 

However, the RBH is not alone in it's struggles, as A&E waits across England are at their worst level for a decade. 

So what is causing this nation-wide problem?

1. Lack of staff

The government has been known for some time that A&E units are struggling to recruit and retain staff.
The College of Emergency Medicines says each unit should have 10 consultants with the largest trusts needing up to 16. But the average number stands at just over seven. There are also shortages of A&E trained nurses. Evidence is emerging of staff moving abroad.
2. The 111 Helpline
The coalition government dumped the successful NHS Direct Helpline and replaced with the more troubled 111 line which has fewer clinically trained staff advising callers. This, it is believed, has led to more A&E referrals. 
3. GP access more restricted 
A recent national survey said that the proportion of patients saying it was not east to get through to their GP had jumped from 18% to 24% in two years. Some GPs also advise patients to go to A&E for treatment.
As we know in Reading, there are continuing threats to sustainable GP services.
4. Cuts to social care 
Hospitals are struggling to discharge patients as the councils care services have been cut and the number of older people getting help get by 29% over the last years - at a time of an ever older population many living with disabilities longer. They, too, are ending up in A&E. Two-thirds of emergency admissions are over 65 years old.
The government must not betray NHS patients or hard-working staff in the RBH A&E Department, by allowing this to continue. It's their choice.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Three Wishes For 2015

May I wish the people of Reading a Happy New Year!

Looking forward to 2015 I have three wishes:

Firstly, that there is a big turn-out of voters on Thursday 7 May for the next General Election. We often hear voices critical of our politicians - in my opinion sometimes fairly, sometimes not - but our democracy and freedoms are vital to what makes this country great and must not be taken for granted. In other countries we see people fight to have the right to vote and sometimes queue for hours to exercise that right, so let's reverse the falling trend and use this privilege: it does not matter who you choose to vote for, just vote!

Secondly, I hope that Reading FC can yet still fight their way through to the Championship Play-Offs and make it third time lucky by winning promotion at Wembley on 25 May. We have enjoyed our record breaking promotions of the past as well as the heartache of play-off losses - I will never forget the misery of that Bolton game in 1995 - but it is not too late for new manager Steve Clarke to put a run together which could take us all the way to that big pay day game on Bank Holiday Monday at the end of May.

Third and finally, I hope that by this time next year the number of people In Reading relying on the town's food banks to survive a very modest form of living has vastly diminished. The fact that these organisations exist at all in the 21st century in a relatively prosperous town in one of the best well off parts of one of the richest economies in the world is a stain on our society. For now please keeping giving food donations, but do what you can to eradicate their very need to be.

May the New Year also make your wishes come true too!

Tony Jones 
Mayor of Reading