After a year in power, its time to look back on the record of the local and national ruling parties. Here I look at Reading Council.
Locally the Tories and LD were in a coalition, just as they were nationally. In return for supporting the Tories the LD were given some power and some cabinet positions.
LD Cllr Daisy Benson was lead Cllr for Community Care, Housing & Health made much during campaigning of her desie to bring empty homes back into use. She proudly states that in that year "12 empty homes were brought back into use". That would be one a month. According to her own figures this number was reduced by 369 in the previous 2 years! Would it be mean to suggest she should thank the previous administration or perhaps she was more effective in opposition that when in power.
Comunity and voluntary groups have seen cuts in funding, including the RCRE.
(ex) LD Cllr Warren Swaine was lead Cllr for the environment and sustainability for most of the year. He says he and his sucessor, LD Cllr Ricky Duveen, have managed to implement:
* First community based compact fluorescent lightbulb recycling scheme in the UK.
* Weekly collections for priority areas.
* Kerbside battery recycling.
In 2007 Reading's recycling rate was 35%
in 2010 it had actually gone down to 31%
It would be interesting to see if this has changed.
Conservative Cllr Richard Willis was lead strategic planing & transport, he has:
*cut free bus passes for the elderly,
*campaigned for less traffic lights yet introduced the Labour plan for them on the Shinfield Road causing an expensive disaster.
He promised this year to "introduce a London-style cycle hire scheme" but we already have such a scheme, indeed we had it before London.
I've been searching his blog for references to transport but have only found one sentence in the last two months. Back in feb he talks about reducing more traffic lights; nothing about cycling (aside from the London scheme), walking, buses or trains. Though bus services have been cut. And free travel for pensioners during peak hours.
The Council is looking to make cuts of £18.8 million in its budget for next year (2011/12 financial year). The cuts package will hit the most needy and least well off the hardest.
*Expect 150 compulsory redundancies.
*Deprive vulnerable pensioners of Council care in their twilight years
*Cuts in front line education posts and buyback of services for schools from the Council will lead to reductions in service to vulnerable families.
*Domestic Violence staff levels are to be cut increasing the risks of domestic abuse and leading to abusers escaping the law.
*Transport services for school children, patients, the elderly, and those in care will be reviewed and cut with Readibus, the NHS, and Reading Buses.
Woop-de-doo they changed the colour of the logo on the website from red to blue on the main page. The other pages still have it in red. No yellow seen so far, is there anything to read in that?
The Cabinet Were
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Leader of Council
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Community Care, Housing & Health
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Environment and Sustainability
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Education & Children's Services
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Communities, Voluntary Sector and Enterprise
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Culture & Sport
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Finance & Service Improvement
Lead Councillor Portfolio: Strategic Planning & Transport
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