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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 awar...

2 Feb 2013

Battle 106 - Sharma has missed the point entirely

Just got a leaflet through my door from Alok Sharma asking Labour councillors to honour their pledge to spend the Battle 106 money on healthcare. 

He does understand that the money was never going to be spent on healthcare doesn't he?  It was going to provide a building to house healthcare services that were to be provided by the Primary Care Trust (PCT).  Not a single penny was going to pay a nurses wage or buy so much as  plaster.  The PCT took that healthcare away because of cuts to the NHS.

When the PCT pulled the healthcare rug from under Battle residents feet at the end of 2011 he didn't care (see here).  Shouldn't he then have expressed his outrage that Battle residents were having a service they wanted taken away from them then?  Shouldn't he have lobbied the PCT to restore this funding?  He did nothing.

He has not contacted us about this money, just used it as a cheap political football.  He has seen who we have selected as our parliamentary candidate and realised he needs to actually do something for residents if he wants any chance of keeping his parliamentary seat.  But rather than engage in a useful way, he has decided to do his own thing. 

Why should he and his petition decide what this money should be used for (it won't - the consultation will)? He hasn't given residents any options.  He is telling them.  People from outside the borough, let alone outside the immediate Battle are can sign his petition.  Why should they tell Battle residents what they want?

Battle councillors and Reading Borough Council are going to consult local residents and ASK them what they feel is important to them and how they want the money spent.  Nothing has been decided and nothing's been ruled out.  We have already started work on the consultation. We ask, not tell!

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