Reading Liberal Democrats



a fresh start for Reading

Liberal Democrat Logo

Salter has been taken in by Government spin over tax rise – Patrick Murray

Liberal Democrats in Reading West have accused Labour MP Martin Salter of letting down local people on low and modest incomes, by backing the Government over the doubling of the 10p tax rate without an adequate compensation package.

Patrick Murray, Lib Dem PPC for Reading West, said:

Martin Salter has been taken in by the Government. The Government’s compensation promise offers no guarantees at all.

“The Government won’t say how many people it will help. They won’t say if it will be permanent, or just for one year. And they already seem to have gone back on their promise that it will all be backdated.

“How do the Government expect people on below average incomes to pay today’s bills with money they won’t get for another six months – and that there is no guarantee they will even get then?

“On Monday night MPs had a chance to guarantee that the compensation package that the Government eventually come up with will be an adequate one – by voting for an amendment that said the 10p rate would be restored at the start of next year unless MPs have voted to approve a compensation package they judge to be adequate before then.

“Sadly Martin Salter voted against this. He seems content to trust Gordon Brown on this, when all evidence so far suggests he cannot be trusted on this issue. It was Gordon Brown after all, who originally claimed no-one would lose out under the changes.

“Labour MPs have now been fooled twice on the 10p rate. First in March last year, when they cheered Gordon Brown’s budget and it was left to the Liberal Democrats to point out he was upping tax on the low paid. Now they have been fooled again by a promise of compensation which has more holes than a fishing net.

“It is clear that Martin Salter cannot be relied on to stand up for local people on low and modest incomes.

“It is also clear that the Liberal Democrats, not Labour, are the party of fairness in Britain today.”

Editor’s Notes

According to data released by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, losers from the doubling of the 10p rate will be those on incomes between £5,435 and £19,355. IFS Report

More than 50 Labour MPs will make their average constituent pay more income tax if they vote to double the 10p tax rate on Monday, Liberal Democrat research shows.

In total there are 58 constituencies where the average constituent would lose out by the abolition of the 10p tax rate, with 51 of them held by Labour MPs.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable said “Labour MPs have a stark decision to make either they vote with the Government and make millions of low income workers worse off or they vote with their conscience. The Chancellor’s supposed concessions of last week will not make a blind bit of difference to the millions are ready feeling the pinch from Gordon Brown’s tax grab. Labour MPs must not give in to the Chancellor’s bribes and half promises. Labour simply cannot pretend that the doubling of the 10p rate will not hurt people when 50 of there MPs will be voting for a tax rise for their average constituent. The abolition of the 10p rate is clear evidence that the Prime Minster has lost all touch with ordinary people. MPs from all sides of the house must come together to tell the Prime Minister that we simply will not accept this cynical tax rise on those who can least afford it.”

And finally…
A snippet from the Revenue website on 6 April 1999
NEW 10P RATE OF TAX MEANS A BETTER DEAL FOR THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN
The new 10p rate of tax comes into force today – the lowest starting rate of tax for over 35 years.

Chancellor Gordon Brown today welcomed the new rate of tax saying “My Budget in March introduced tax cuts for a purpose – to make work pay, encourage enterprise and support families. And so from today, all taxpayers will see the benefit of the promises the Government has made to the British people. We are delivering on those promises to get a better deal for Britain. The new 10p rate – the lowest starting rate of tax in Britain for more than 35 years – will make work pay and help people, especially those who are low-paid, to keep more of the money that they earn. People will see the benefit of the new 10p tax rate in their first pay packet after 17 May – just a few weeks from now. As a result of the new 10p rate, 1.8 million low-paid workers will see their tax bills halved as a result – a gain of up to £150 a year. And from today too, every worker in Britain who pays national insurance will have their tax bills cut by £65 a year, because of the reforms we have made to national insurance contributions.

“When we make promises, we keep them.”

Har de Har!

Lib Dems slam Reading Labour’s failed bulky waste policy

Reading Lib Dems have pledged to put fairness first in the imminent review of Labour-run Reading Borough Council’s policy of charging for bulky waste items saying that it has led to a big increase in flytipping in the Borough.

Labour-run Reading Borough Council introduced the scheme in 2003 without consulting local residents.

At the Council’s February budget meeting Liberal Democrats got an amendment passed unanimously to review Council fees and charges, and were explicit that bulky waste was an area ripe for a rethink.

Under Labour, householders are charged a massive £22 for collection of up to five items, increasing to £28 for 6 items or more. The charge is levied for those of working age, regardless of income.

Cllr Gareth Epps, Katesgrove Councillor and environment spokesman for the Lib Dems on Reading Borough Council said:

“For many elderly residents, families, and those on low incomes, the Council’s bulky waste collection service is too expensive. Lib Dem Councils such as Liverpool have abandoned charging in favour of free collections. Large items are repaired and sold on at a reduced price for sale to those on low incomes. This would help cut flytipping and be fairer on residents.”

Katesgrove Lib Dem campaigner, Warren Swaine, who is standing in Thursday’s election is keen to see the policy reviewed

“ I only have to walk down my street to see dumped sofas and fridges which are the direct result of this policy. The Council must stop fleecing residents and leaving those who cannot afford to pay no alternative but to leave their waste. Lib Dem policy would be to scrap the scheme”

Editors Note

The photograph (above) shows Cllr Gareth Epps and by a dumped sofa on Mount Pleasant in Katesgrove

  1. Details of RBC’s current policy can be found here: Waste & Recycling Policies (sorry about this but true to form the RBC link dosn’t work, I’ll update it as soon as I find one that does!)
  2. Details of Lib Dem controlled Liverpool City Council’s ‘Bulky Bob’ scheme can be found here:Bulky Bob
  3. Background article about the scheme from 2004: A Right Dump

Fair Funding for Reading’s Police; no more Labour Failure

LIB DEMS: Select Committee told: ‘Fair Funding for Reading’s Police; no more Labour Failure’ Liberal Democrats will today (Thursday) take the message of their campaign for fair funding of Reading’s police officers to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee when it visits Reading – led by lead councillor on Safer Communities Cllr Daisy Benson.

However, the timing of the visit has been criticised for being close to local elections and preventing an honest debate about policing and in particular the historical shortages of police suffered acutely by Reading and other areas in the Thames Valley over many years. Liberal Democrats see the visit – organised by Martin Salter MP – as a cynical election ploy rather than a genuine attempt to tackle the problems of police retention in the Thames Valley.

Reading has implemented the Neighbourhood Policing system – but with some police areas having to double up in order to ensure there is sufficient coverage among neighbourhood police teams. The Audit Commission has given Reading’s Labour Council only a one-star rating and has criticised the Council for confusion between it and the Police over who is seen to be publicly responsible for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the town. By contrast, Liberal Democrat-controlled Milton Keynes has been rated as an examplar on neighbourhood policing by the Home Office.

Cllr Daisy Benson, Liberal Democrat lead councillor on Safer Communities in Reading, is expected to say at the meeting:-’The issue in the Thames Valley goes wider than the 27% pay gap between our hard-working local police officers and those in the Met paid more to do the same job. Getting Neighbourhood Policing set up in Reading is a triumph for our local police – but it has been done on a shoestring, and Reading residents deserve better than being short-changed by the Labour Government. We need real change, not a photo-opportunity for Reading Labour at election time.’

Slamming Martin Salter’s move to bring the Select Committee to Reading just a week before Polling day, Cllr Gareth Epps, deputy Group Leader of Reading’s Liberal Democrats and PPC for Reading East, says:-’Martin Salter has failed miserably in 11 years as an MP to achieve any action on this issue. Only a few months ago the Home Secretary told him flat that she recognised no problem in the Thames Valley on police retention. Reading residents who have wondered for years where their local police were, know that Labour have achieved nothing. It is the hard work of Thames Valley officers that has brought in Neighbourhood Policing – but there is no firm foundation for the future. Cheap stunts by Martin Salter will ring hollow when his own Home Secretary doesn’t even recognise there is a problem and delivers such a public snub.’

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Select Committee member Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington said:-’It is a pity that the committee stage on the Terrorism Bill clashes with the visit to Reading. I know there are real issues in police funding between London and the areas around the capital. Towns such as Reading deserve a proper enquiry, and I will be pressing for the Labour Government to take proper action to recognise the long-term issues of police recruitment and retention in the Thames Valley.’

Liberal Democrats work harder – OFFICIAL

Figures obtained by Reading Lib Dems from Reading Borough Council show that during the municipal year (May 2007 – Feb 2008), Reading’s Lib Dem councillors have reported a staggering 578 local issues to the Council for action.

Two Liberal Democrat councillors between them have reported more issues to the Council than the entire 14-strong Conservative Group.

The statistics reveal that Redlands Cllr Daisy Benson has reported the most issues of any councillor: 266 issues, compared to her Labour counterpart, Cllr Riaz Chaudri, who only managed to report 4 issues via the Council’s casework reporting systems during the past 9 months.

Cllr Gareth Epps (Katesgrove), elected last year, reported 181 issues for action from RBC: more than four times as many issues reported by Labour councillors David Sutton and Richard Stainthorp.

Cllr Daisy Benson said:

“Bitter members of other parties attacked me when I was elected two years ago saying that because I have full time job in addition to my Council duties I would be a ‘part time councillor’. I think these figures reveal these criticisms were totally baseless.”

“These stats show that Lib Dems work hard all year round not just at election time getting things done for local people”

Cllr Gareth Epps, Deputy Leader of the Lib Dem Group said

“These facts speak for themselves. If the residents of Reading want to elect councillors to represent their neighbourhoods who work hard and get things done in the May 1 elections there is only one choice at the ballot box: Liberal Democrat”

Editor’s Notes –

  • Data obtained by the Lib Dems shows that during the municipal year (May 2007 – Feb 2008) Lib Dem Councillors in Reading have almost half the number of councillors compared to the Conservatives, but handle 12 % more casework.
  • Lib Dem councillors in Reading so have been dealing with the highest average number of casework ‘pieces’ per councillor – almost twice the average for Labour and almost 3 times the average for the Conservatives.

Reading Lib Dems attack Labour for “playing politics on the rates”

Pressure from the Reading Lib Dems has revealed the true cost to the Reading tax payer of the Labour-run Reading Council’s ‘Reading Live’.

A question by Lib Dem Leader, Cllr Bob Green at yesterday’s full Council meeting found that the glossy magazine which was sent out with the Council tax demand JUST WEEKS ahead of the local elections in May cost the Reading Council Tax payer a whopping £39,099.90.

Lib Dem Deputy Leader and Reading East Parliamentary Campaigner Cllr Gareth Epps also attacked the Labour administration for “shameless self-promotion and publicity seeking ahead of the local elections”, after Lib Dem research revealed a total of SIXTEEN mentions of prominent Labour Councillors (including two who are standing for election in 2008) and no mentions whatsoever of the TWENTY-ONE other ward councillors of other parties who represent residents in Reading Borough.

The document has even omitted the contact details of councillors, in a break with previous years.

“Once again the Labour administration is “playing politics on the rates”, just weeks ahead of what are likely to be Labour’s worst set of local election results in a decade.

“It is cynical politics of the worst kind and Reading residents have written to us to say that they are well and truly sick of Reading Labour’s propaganda tactics. It is a scandal that the Reading tax-payer has been forced to pick up the bill for what is essentially a Labour party manifesto from a failed administration.”

Editor’s Notes:-
The breakdown of cost is as follows:

  1. Design work £2,200
  2. Printing of 150,000 copies £42,399.90 (However 63,000 copies were mailed out with the council tax bills. This was at no additional postage cost compared to previous council tax mailings. All of the information from page 24 onwards is information that has, in the past, been included as separate leaflets, which have then been mailed out together with the council tax bill. Some of the remaining copies are distributed to council outstations for ‘pick up’ with the remainder held by Council Tax and used to meet their needs for the coming year – as new people move into the area etc.)
  3. Therefore the total cost for 150,000 copies is £44,599.90,(less £5,500 from Berks West PCT as contribution towards their pages at the back) comes to £39,099.90 (approx 26p each).

Upcoming Events

   September  2014 »
MTWTFSS
1234567
891011121314
15
Events on September 15, 2014
  • Exec Committee meeting
    Starts: 7:30 pm
    Ends: September 15, 2014 - 9:30 pm
    Location: Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC), London Street, Reading, United Kingdom
161718192021
222324
Events on September 24, 2014
  • Fresher's Fayre
    Starts: 11:00 am
    Ends: September 24, 2014 - 5:00 pm
    Location: Reading University Students Union RUSU Reading, RG6 6AZ
25262728
Events on September 28, 2014
  • Liberal Drinks
    Starts: 7:30 pm
    Ends: September 28, 2014 - 10:30 pm
    Location: The Inn On The Park, The Pavillon, Woodford Park, Haddon Drive, Woodley, Reading, United Kingdom
2930 

Donate

Make a one-off donation to the Reading Liberal Democrat campaign.