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Save the date! Reading Pride 2018

The date of the 2018 Reading Pride has been announced!  If you want to come to the best (in my opinion) free Pride then pop: Saturday 1 ...

26 Mar 2019

Question to council: William Marshal

Richard Stainthorp to ask the Lead Councillor for Culture Heritage and Recreation: William Marshal As I am sure the Lead Councillor is aware 2019 is the 800th anniversary of William Marshal dying in Caversham. William was eulogized by Stephen Langton as 'the best knight that ever lived‘, he served five English kings and was Lord Protector and regent of the kingdom during the reign of Henry III. As is the case for many of us Caversham was his favourite place. Can the Lead Councillor tell me what plans there are to commemorate the anniversary of this great man's death ? 

REPLY by Councillor Hacker Lead Councillor for Culture, Heritage and Recreation. Thank you for your question Mr Stainthorp and I am indeed aware of the anniversary of the remarkable William Marshal and the strong connection he had to our Borough. Unsurprisingly, we do indeed have plans to commemorate this particularly significant anniversary of his death. 

Reading Museum is leading on work with local partners to mark this historic anniversary with two events on Saturday 11 May (which also coincides with the Forbury Fiesta).

The Friends of Caversham Court Gardens will have a ‘pop-up’ William Marshal exhibition at the Abbey Gateway (10am -3pm), which will also provide another opportunity to visit the newly restored medieval Gateway. While at the Museum there will be an afternoon talk (3pm 4pm, booking essential via the Museum) on William Marshal by Dr Elizabeth Matthew, University of Reading. This fascinating talk is part of the popular continuing series of public lectures relating to the Abbey Quarter organised by the Museum and the Reading Abbey Revealed project.

During May half term on Tuesday 28 May the Museum is running ‘The Greatest Knight!’ family workshops. Children will be inspired by the greatest knight to decorate their own signature helmet and shield (1-hour sessions starting at 10am, 11.15am, 1pm & 2.15pm, booking via the museum).

You may also be interested to learn that after Marshal died at Caversham his body lay in state at the Abbey until it was transported for burial at the Temple church in London. The Abbey is of course famous as the burial place of King Henry I, but other members of the AngloNorman/Angevin family were also buried at this favoured royal abbey. The Reading Abbey Revealed project and the University of Reading are exploring this subject with a one-day conference ‘Royal Death and Burial Reading Abbey in Context’ on Saturday 6 April (9am 5pm, booking essential). Internationally renowned experts will set Reading Abbey in its context as one of the great royal mausoleums of medieval Europe.

Also! Head to www.cadra.org.uk to find out about their plans to provide an information panel on William Marshal on Cavershsm Bridge plus an expert speaker on the subject at their AGM.
Copied using a text scanner -  apologies if there are errors!

23 Feb 2019

#Labwomen2019 - Early Years, Education and Childcare

Today I was honoured to be given the opportunity to deliver a speech at the Labour Women's Conference.

My speech:

Conference,  chairs, Sisters.   My name is Sarah Hacker from Unite the Union and I am speaking in support of the motion. I'm also a councillor, school governor and parent.

Sisters, we know the the biggest barrier to women to work is the lack of good quality, affordable childcare and nursery provision. We also know that this condemn many women to a fire if low incomes leading to low pensions.

A vicious cycle of financial inequality that spans a lifetime.

Recently Philip Alston, the UN poverty envoy,  took evidence from people across the UK and his findings were damn ing.

This Conservative government he said inflicted “great misery” on its people with “punitive,  mean-spirited, and often callous” austerity policies.

In the world's fifth largest economy levels of child poverty were not just a disgrace but a social calamity and an economic disaster.

I don't think I've ever heard such enormous condemnation from anyone let alone an envoy from the United Nations.

We always knew that workers have borne the brunt of the 2008 economic crash.

Add to that Universal Credit

Cuts in local funding

Closure of Sure Start centres that provided real improvements in health, parenting and behaviour with the poorest children benefitting most.

And we have a toxic mix of parents reliant on food banks and children reliant on free school meals.

Financial inequality,  the lack of childcare and early years education has a motor impact on child development right up to how they perform at GCSE and beyond.

We can't rely on the Tories to deliver on Early Years Education  and Childcare.  Their solution, as with so many things, is to rely heavily on the private sector who cream off the profits.

We are left with unequal access. Poorly paid and poorly trained staff.

Let me make this clear - people who do thr work are not to blame. It's quite clear where the blame lies.

It lies with austerity.

It lies with tbwclosure of Sure Star Centres by a Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition.

And it lies with this Conservative government who havecutfunding to local authorities to the bone.

Only a Labour government will reverse the cuts and bring in high quality early early childhood education and care provision as a part of a National Education Service ice that is truly cradle -to-grave.

15 Feb 2019

£2.7 million allocated to parks in Reading

Today it was announced that £2.7million has been allocated in the Reading Council budget for parks equipment and other park improvements across the borough, £603k of which followed a public consultation last year on CIL funding. 

I have made it very clear that ensuring our playgrounds are accessible to all children is my priority. Play is vital to the healthy development of our children, physically and mentally, and is a great way to form friendships. I look forward to seeing more accessible play equipment across the borough.

Other improvements will also include full consultation with park users. If you have any ideas ahead of the consultation please get in touch. sarah.hacker@reading.gov.uk

Full press release here: http://news.reading.gov.uk/council-budget-plan-19-20/

Full budget report here: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=138&MId=1842


26 Apr 2018

Vote for Sarah Hacker in Battle ward on 3rd May!

I am a resident of Battle ward and have been your Labour councillor since 2010. I am a mum, pensions administrator and trade union rep for Unite. I am also an equalities campaigner, patron of Reading Pride and school governor for Oxford Road Community School.

As a Battle ward councillor I have worked hard for Battle and Reading. I have: 
  • Helped secure £1.6 million of investment in my ward which has seen local parks upgraded,an extension planned for Battle Library as well as other local projects.
  • Ensured plans for pedestrian and cyclist access to Cow Lane were improved and pushed for the project to be completed in summer 2018. 
  • Campaigned for more school places.
  • Successfully campaigned for Network Rail to include disabled access in their Reading West station plans.
  • Worked with Thames Valley police to support our community and act on criminal activity.
  • Proactively engaged with, and supported, the Battle ward community helping solve many local issues such as parking, housing, welfare, school places and anti-social behaviour.
  • Listened to the parking concerns of residents in the Sherwood Street area and arranged for a resident's parking scheme to be developed and consulted on.
If you re-elect me on 3rd May I promise to continue working hard for Battle residents and for the town of Reading.  I will still hold our monthly advice surgeries, be easy to contact by phone, email or social media and will always be happy to stop for a chat should you see me out and about. 

I will continue to ensure that Thames Valley police take resident's concerns seriously, work with traffic officers to make the Oxford Road and side streets safer, represent residents in council meetings, ensure we have enough primary and secondary places for our children and continue to make Battle ward residents my priority.

I have been a strong voice for Battle ward for 8 years and, if re-elected, I will continue to fight for the best for Battle!

31 Jan 2018

Austerity impacts women unfairly; the government must be held to account

Today I'm at the Unite Women's Conference. I moved this motion which was carried unanimously.

Demand for Gender Impact Audit of Government Tax and Spending Policies.

This conference is concerned that 86% of the burden of government austerity policies since 2010 has fallen on women.

Conference notes that the latest research carried out by the House of Commons Library reveals that this figure has remained unchanged for the last 2 years.

Conference further notes that women are paying a huge price for this failed government policy.

Conference resolves to campaign to to highlight this issue from within Unite, the TUC and the Labour Party.

Conference instructs the Women's National Committee to urge the Executive Council to call on the Labour  Party NEC members to demand a gender impact audit of government tax and spending policies since 2010.

My speech:

Chair, Sisters

Since austerity was imposed upon us by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010 86% of the burden has fallen on women.

Research has shown that the cost to women since 2010 is £79 billion compared to £13 billion borne by men.

We are more likely to use, and work in, the public services that have been cut and been subject to pay freezes. We are more likely to be in receipt of the benefits and tax credits that have been frozen and cut.

Women are more likely to fill that gaps left by austerity by caring, often for free, for children and older people at the detriment to our employment and earnings and let's not forget that women, on average, still earn less than men.

The implementation of Universal Credit is hitting women the hardest. More women than men claim universal credit and  Lone parents of which 90% are women are expected to be on average £2,380 a year worse off.  This year we saw women unable to provide Christmas meals for their families when Universal credit was implemented just before Christmas

Women have also born the brunt of cuts to child tax credit which now will only be paid for the first two children. If you are a low income working family you will get nothing to help if you have more than two children. The government is aiming to find £1.2 billion through this cut while turning a blind eye to tax evasion by some of the highest earning companies in the world.

Inadequate investment in  childcare prevents women, especially single mothers, from entering the labour market. Childcare in the UK is the most expensive in Europe and women often find the money they earn wiped out by childcare costs. The government is doing too little to change this.

Its current pledge of 30 hours of free childcare for 3 and 4 years olds is not enough. It's only available in term time - just 38 weeks a year. Both parents must be in work to receive this free childcare but who can take 14 weeks of a year to plug the gap?

It's also the case that Government funding to childcare settings does not cover costs so they are asking parents to make top up payments for food, nappies and trips. In Reading, we're I live, a local primary school had to write to parents to contribute a pound per pupil per school day to close its budget gap because of negative changes to the schools funding formula. More expense for working parents and women.

Finally we’ve heard from WASPI women who have lost thousands in state pensions to save the Conservative government money so from the cradle to the grave women have been unfairly impacted by austerity.

So sisters I am asking you to support this motion for a campaign to raise awareness of thisdiscrimination within Unite, the TUC and Labour Party.

As the womens conference we will be asking that the Labour Party NEC demand a gender impact audit of government tax and spending policies.

And finally as women we will be asking that the government be held to account for its destructive austerity programme that hurts our sisters the most. 

Conference I move.