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Tax cuts must be lasting – Patrick Murray

Liberal Democrats in Reading West have called for income tax cuts to help struggling families weather the recession.

Speaking to a meeting of members over the weekend, Patrick Murray (Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson) said that people in Reading West have endured a year of rocketting fuel, transport and food prices and many were still out of pocket following the government”s decision to double the starting rate of income tax.

“Today, 24th November, the Chancellor presents his Prebudget Report to Parliament,” said Patrick. “Liberal Democrats will be pressing for permanent tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes. We will be looking for radical changes in the tax system which lock in lower rates of income tax for good.”

“To make these tax cuts lasting, they have to be funded. That means shifting the tax burden onto pollution and ending the tax perks and loopholes enjoyed by the highest earners, as Vince Cable pointed out in his speech at Reading University last week.”

“We are worried that the Government will simply introduce temporary tax cuts, paid for by borrowing, which will disappear once we start to come out of recession.”

“Now is the time for a genuine and radical change to the tax system. Liberal Democrats will be pressing for that and, having spoken to many residents of Reading, I know it is what people here want.”

“We believe, however, that an area where borrowing should be allowed is investment in new buildings and facilities that are needed. I am very keen to see people’s homes properly insulated and more affordable homes built for people who need them.”

“As well as boosting jobs and the economy, it will help to save money in the future.”

Editor’s Notes:

To see the Pre-Budget Report click here.

Honour for long-serving Councillor

Bob Green, our long-serving Lib Dem Reading Borough Councillor is to be made a Freeman of the Borough at a special ceremony this week.

Bob Green served on the council for 13 years before standing down at this year’s local elections in May. He was leader of the Liberal Democrat group for seven years and Mayor in 2000-2001. He also served on Berkshire County Council for three years until it was abolished in 1998.

At a special council meeting on Thursday (13th) Council Leader Jo Lovelock will propose that Bob receives the Honour in recognition of his distinguished service for the Borough of Reading. The Leader of the Conservative group Andrew Cumpsty, will second the motion.

Reading Mayor Peter Beard will then present Bob with a scroll confirming his position as a Freeman. The honour entitles him to drive any sheep he owns through the streets of Reading!

Bob, a retired senior Civil Servant, will attend the ceremony with his wife Jill, daughter Laura and other family members.

Speaking at his home in Caversham Heights, he said: “I am flattered and delighted. I regard it as a great honour. I am particularly pleased because I regard Reading, as it is today, as a town worthy of pride and I am grateful to have been able to make some contribution to this.”

Bob was born in Kent and moved to Reading from London in 1971.

All members of the Greater Reading Liberal Democrats would like to thank Bob for all his hard work and dedication, not only to the party but to the people of Reading and to wish him a long and happy retirement.

The Gurkhas need your support

Joanna Lumley has some great news about the Gurkha Justice campaign.

Firstly, we now have over 120,000 online signatures with over 20,000 returned in the post. If you haven’t done so already, please spread the word to all your online contacts and ask them to sign up online too at Justice for Gurkhas

Also there have been some exciting steps forward in the House of Commons.

Earlier this week the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons considered the right of Gurkhas to settle in the UK. The committee considered evidence from a range of different people, including our lawyers, a submission from me, and representatives from a number of Gurkha organisations.

I’m so pleased to be able to tell you that they agreed with us entirely, and have sent a letter to the Home Secretary urging her to take “urgent action to redress the currently unfair situation by extending settlement rights in the UK to all Gurkhas”. You can read the full text of the letter here

This is a big step forward, with an influential cross-Party committee of MPs backing our cause. This is on top of the High Court’s ruling in late September that the Government’s action was “unlawful and unfair”.

But just unbelievably, the Government has still not changed the law, and has still not yet agreed to offer a fair deal for Gurkhas.

In this week in particular, when we have seen the tragic death of a Gurkha serving in the British Army in Afghanistan, and four soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles awarded the Military Cross, we need to redouble our efforts to make the Government see sense.

Please do whatever you can to ask as many people as you can to sign the petition at www.gurkhajustice.org.uk – I want to take a simply huge petition to Downing Street on the 20th November.

And I’d like you to join me in Parliament Square, Westminster, at 11am on Thursday 20th November, before we hand in the petition. I want to stand together with you and our Gurkha heroes and show just how strong the support for the Gurkhas cause is. Will you join me? I hope to see you there.

Finally, especially for those who can join me on the 20th of November, you can buy Gurkha Justice t-shirts, sweatshirts, bags and more from our online shop with Spreadshirt at this website. Wear yours with pride – I certainly do – and for the next few days only (until this Sunday), Spreadshirt are offering free postage on all items to show their support for the campaign. Simply use the coupon code GURKHAFREE when ordering, and the postage for your items should be free.

With warmest good wishes,

Joanna
Sign the petition here

Editor’s Notes:
On Sunday, millions of us across the Country honoured those who have fought and died for us on Remembrance Sunday.

One hundred thousand Gurkhas fought in the First World War. They served in the battlefields of France in the Loos, Givenchy, Neuve Chapelle and Ypres; in Mesopotamia, Persia, Suez Canal and Palestine against Turkish advance, Gallipoli and Salonika. One detachment served with Lawrence of Arabia. 250,000 Nepalese Gurkhas served in the Second World War. Gurkhas have also been present and fighting for this country in every action since the second world war.

It’s time to repay our debt of honour to them. So hurry up and sign the petition here

Labour Government Proposes to Remove Tenant’s Rights

The Labour Government’s proposal to remove the right of tenants to live in their homes indefinitely and put rents up if they don’t take on a mortgage has been attacked by local Liberal Democrats.

Patrick Murray, Reading West Lib Dems Parliamentary spokesman, stated that:

“There is no greater indication of the moral vacuum and sheer hypcorisy at the heart of the Labour Government than this ridiculously unfair policy. For almost a decade they have forced councils to sell off their housing, whilst refusing to allow them to build more. They have presided over the lowest rate of building affordable housing since the second world war. There is no question as to who is to blame for the extra 1 million people on housing waiting lists in the last decade. The Labour Government has simply not built enough affordable housing. To attack Council tenants in this way is completely unfair- ministers should be ashamed of their failure and take responsibility for it.”

“At the same time they refused to recognise the dangers of the unsustainable housing bubble that forced so many to seek help from the state and has now collapsed bringing ruin to many people, forcing even more to turn to affordable housing. To tell people that if they have a council house they may lose it in a few years, whilst people are losing their homes to repossessions is unbeleivably callous.”

“If they really want to encourage people out of council housing then they should replace the Thatcher Government’s right-to-buy with a right to invest and build more shared ownership, not threaten to put rents up when people are struggling to meet the bills.”

Editor’s Notes:

Patrick Murray was Executive member for Housing on Oxford City Council 2006-8

The Government’s proposals are documented in this Times article

Vince Cable visits Reading

Global economic crisis, banks collapsing, government bail outs, a looming recession – suddenly you can’t get away from the economic situation.

One politician who predicted all of this was Vince Cable MP, the deputy leader and shadow chancellor of the Liberal Democrat party. With over 40 years of economic experience as a lecturer at LSE, a treasury finance officer, chief economist to Shell and finally as the Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson, Vince Cable is well placed to review our current the economic position and how we might get out of it.

On Thursday 13 November Vince Cable will be giving a talk entitled “The truth about the economy”. This is being held at the University of Reading, Palmer Building (Room 109) from 7.30 to 9.30 pm. The meeting is open to members of the public and free to all to attend.

Parliamentary Campaigner for Reading East, Cllr Gareth Epps said “Vince’s speeches are always a pleasure to watch as his quick wit and strong knowledge of all topics is clearly apparent.”

Peter Walley, President of the Reading University Lib Dem Society, “The Liberal Democrat party clearly cares about young people, several key MP’s such as Lembit Opik, David Heath and Nick Clegg have been keen to come and talk to students in Reading.”

Editor’s Notes:

  • Please contact Cllr Glenn Goodall for more information 0118 3750082 or Glenn_Goodall@hotmail.comor
  • RU libdem Soc president Peter Walley at peterwalley@hotmail.com

Upcoming Events

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Events on July 27, 2014
  • Liberal Drinks
    Starts: 7:30 pm
    Ends: July 27, 2014 - 10:30 pm
    Location: The Royal Oak, Tilehurst
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