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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...

9 Sept 2019

Stop The Coup!

Sometimes you have to act quickly in politics and last week I helped put together a #StopTheCoup protest in town.As the new chair of Reading and District Labour party I had a great executive committee to help me out plus frineds in Reading Trade Union Council.

Well over 300 people turned up and we had speakers from across the political spectrum.  Here is my speech:

"We are all here today for the same purpose, and that is to defend democracy. The prorogation of parliament is an outrage and threat to our democracy.
Some of our elected representatives, our MPs, are being denied their right to represent us and some don’t believe we need representing at all and are backing the shut down of parliament.

Boris Johnson's plot to shut Parliament down just days after MPs return to work - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline - is totally irresponsible and shows a cynical disregard for democracy and accountability.

The press reported today that he was secretly planning to suspend parliament in mid-August – two weeks before denying the plan existed. It is clear our prime minister cannot be trusted.

Parliament is where the people are represented; and by his actions, Johnson has shown how little he cares about the concerns of millions of people on both sides of the Brexit debate:

Why is he trying to force through a damaging No Deal Brexit?

Does this demonstrate his desire to do the best for us or himself?

Reading and District Labour Party condemns this attack on the people and welcomes Jeremy Corbyn's decision to call a vote of no confidence in Johnson's undemocratic, arrogant, unelected government.

In a joint statement from The Labour Party, Scottish National Party (SNP), Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, The Independent Group for Change and Green Party we say:

We condemn the undemocratic actions of Boris Johnson following his suspension of parliament until October 14th.

There is no mandate from the public for a damaging No Deal Brexit. The Prime Minister is shutting down Parliament with the sole aim of stopping MPs from avoiding a No Deal Brexit.
This will be the longest prorogation in recent history, and one that comes at a critical moment in the history of our respective nations and the Brexit process.

Voters are being deprived of the opportunity to have their representatives hold the Government to account, make any key decisions, and ensure that there is a lawful basis for any action that is taken.
It is our view that there is a majority in the House of Commons that does not support this prorogation, and we demand that the Prime Minister reverses this decision immediately or allows MPs to vote on whether there should be one.

What do we want MP’s to do?

Stop The Coup!"

The wonderful flash mob that started the protest.

3 Aug 2019

Stop Universal Credit!

On Thursday 1 August I joined Reading residents protesting about the cruelty of Universal Credit at an event organised by Unite Community. We heard first hand accounts of the poverty the system is causing from ReadiFood Food Bank, disability campaigners, and claimant's friends and family.

It was good to see Reading Trades Union Council, trade unionists, Labour councillors, Labour members and the new Executive Committee of Reading and District Labour Party join Berkshire Disabled People Against Cuts and residents.

10 Jul 2019

Summer in our parks

This is a fantastic sight. Kensington Park is so busy with cricket, football, basketball, runners and cyclists as well as families having picnics or just playing on the equipment. Part of the Section 106 developer contribution from the Battle Hospital site was used to upgrade this park and it's been a huge success.

Reading and District Labour Party councillors fought hard to ensure the money was spent locally. The Battle Library extension is also being funded from this £1.6 million fund and will open in mid-September.

5 Jun 2019

A question of creative education

On Saturday Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, will bring people together from across the education system to roll up their sleeves and find innovative approaches to tackling disadvantage at school. This is the question I submitted as I fear the focus on STEM in schools is leaving our children at a disadvantage in the future workforce:

"Although core subjects like maths, english and science are important, I strongly feel creative subjects are just as vital for a rounded education that inspires all children, ensures we have imaginative and innovative adults in our future workforce and strengthens our cultural offer as a country.

How will the National Education Service ensure creative subjects are at the core of any future curriculum?"

One of my proudest achievements to date is the creation of Reading's Cultural Education Partnership which works with our cultural and artistic community to ensure children in Reading have the chance to experience good quality art and culture.

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