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Reading Lib Dems Attack “Breathtaking Arrogance” of Reading University Chiefs

Commenting on the news that the University of Reading Council voted on Friday 20 March to close the School of Health and Social Care, Cllr Gareth Epps, Lib Dem Parliamentary Campaigner for Reading East and Group Leader on Reading Borough Council said: “The decision by the University of Reading’s Council to vote to close the School of Health and Social Care in the face of overwhelming local opposition from students, staff and the local community is breathtaking in its arrogance.

Cllr Epps continued “The plight of social care in Reading is already a cause for real concern. Recent inspections of Reading’s Childrens Services and its Adult Community Care Service revealing underlying problems in Reading that need urgent attention – including a chronic shortage of trained social workers.

The closure of this highly regarded School reflects badly on the senior management of University of Reading. They have delivered a calculated snub to staff, students and the local community.”

Cllr Kirsten Bayes, Lib Dem Spokesperson for Education and Childrens’ Services added:

“In the week that Gordon Marshall was revealed to have received an 8% salary increase the closure of the School of Health and Social Care is a false economy. Reading and the Berkshire area as a whole will be poorer as a result as we lose a vital source of highly trained social workers.

Senior management of the University should hang their heads in shame for once again taking a bad decision for the wrong reasons.”

Reading Borough Council’s Chief Executive wrote on behalf of the Council to the Vice Chancellor of Reading University, to express the Council’s concern. The letter followed a Lib Dem motion condemning the closure. The University’s response ran to two lines.

Cllr Daisy Benson, Lib Dem Spokesperson on Health and Community Care said,

“It’s clear the senior management of the University believe they can simply dismiss the concerns of local people. Their response speaks volumes about the University’s attitude towards issues beyond the boundaries of the University campus.”

Editor’s Notes:

  • The Lib Dems tabled a motion to Council in February condemning the decision to close the School of Social Care which attracted all Party support
  • More background information about the Lib Dem campaign to Save the School of Social Care and reaction to the closure can be found here

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