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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...

22 Nov 2017

The Budget - a lost opportunity to improve lives

I've just seen the budget.  I'm not sure what I was expecting - certainly not an end to austerity, despite it being clear it's failed.  I was hoping to see the government had listened and understood that living standards are being squeezed and people are struggling. I was wrong.

Forecasts for growth have been down graded from 2% to 1.5%. Pay continues to stagnate and public sector workers still face a pay cap. People are struggling to make ends meet and the budget has done little to lighten their load.  Food bank use continues to grow with ReadiFood delivering 135 parcels a weekFood prices are rising as are energy costs, rents and house prices.

Stamp duty is being scrapped for first time buyers purchasing properties up to £300,000.  That's all very well but you have to be able to afford to buy the house first, have the salary to back up a mortgage plus be able to save a deposit. According to RightMove the average terraced property sold for £314,479.  Property ownership is now out of reach for many and rents, on average £1,079 for a two bed property in Reading, are also becoming unaffordable.

We face another winter where people will be faced with the choice of eating or heating.  This is nothing new, the government have not been taken by surprise. 

Some money has been thrown at the NHS.  There's £350m to address pressures in winter 2017/2018 but that won't go far when you take into account how far it's to be spread and additional pressures caused by cuts to council social care budgets and a GP service stretched to the limit.

Schools gets nothing extra in their budgets.  There is money available for secondary schools and collages for pupils taking maths at higher levels but nothing for the primary schools who have already resorted to asking parents for money to plug their budget gaps. The government really is just papering over the already deep cracks they have created.

The future really does look bleak under the Conservative government.  After 7 1/2 years of austerity it's still very much pain with little gain for the average family.

We need a change of government if we really want to see living standards improve, properly affordable housing, a well funded NHS and school budgets that provide a good quality and varied education for our children.  

We need a Labour MP in Reading West who stands up for every community, regardless of its prosperity.  

We need hope.

See Jeremy Corbyn's response to this shambles of a budget here:  Jeremy Corbyn Budget 2017 response

What would Labour do instead?  Find out here: Manifesto

17 Nov 2017

#PrematurityIs - my experience

It's World Prematurity today and this year's theme is #Prematurityis - what prematurity means to those affected by it.  I am one of those people.

My youngest son was born 9 1/2 weeks early and it was a complete shock.  My previous pregnancy produced an overdue and very healthy 9lb 15oz baby.  There were no indications that my second pregnancy would be any different until my waters broke when I was 20+6 weeks pregnant.  Steroids were given, I had a 3 night stay in hospital and was sent home to take things easy to give baby as many days as possible in utero.

I only managed two days at home before I went into labour and my son was delivered by crash emergency cesarean under general anesthetic weighing 3lb 9oz.

The next 4 weeks 2 days were spent:

Visiting him in Buscot Ward at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. 

Initial deep worry, fear and distress when he was covered in wires and monitors when he was first born.

Balancing the needs of a toddler with those of his new brother whilst recovering from major abdominal surgery.

Slowly getting to know this tiny person through a perspex incubator.

Having precious cuddles, changing tiny nappies and clothes and feeding expressed breastmilk through a tube.

Marveling at his strength as he moved through the wards, off oxygen and into a normal cot.

Helping him learn to suck and feed.

Finally taking him home when he was a still tiny 4lb 9oz.

It's once I was home the enormity of what had happened hit me hard.  His first birthday was even harder, remembering what had happened and it's always at the back of my mind.

No two parents of premature babies will have the same experience, feelings, concerns and outcome. 

Prematurity is different for everyone.

 Image may contain: one or more people and people sleeping

Please take a few moment to find out more about prematurity and how you can help premature babies across the UK and the world: http://www.bliss.org.uk/Pages/Category/world-prematurity-day

11 Nov 2017

Saving precious green space in Kirton Close, Norcot

Norcot Labour have launched a petition to save precious green space in the Watermead Estate.  Current plans would see the space covered with 18 properties causing local to lose this little green lung.

Councillor Debs Absolom said "It is a build that is proposing 18 properties on the estates green space where local people walk their dogs, children walk to school, play & learn to ride their bikes, a route for all whether off to the bus stop or get some fresh air.

When this estate was built this green area was for residents and wildlife...it must stay that way."

Cllr Absolom with Cllr Jo Lovelock, Anrysh Kaur, Ellie Emberson and residents

 You can see the planning application here: http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=171219

You can also comment or object on the proposed development adding your voice to those already concerned about these proposals.

This map shows the area of green space that will be lost if these plans go ahead.

Norcot Labour are out with a petition Saturday 18th Nov at 10.30am meeting at Windrush Way junction on Water Road. Please join them and help save this precious space.