I’ve been working on a range of issues, in Westminster and here and some of the main points include:
Challenging the Government on Universal Credit
The new combined benefit has been badly designed and is deeply unfair to many people, to make matters worse, the Government has deliberately created delays in payment and has reduced what some people, such as lower income families who work can claim.
I spoke out about the terrible effect this benefit is having in Reading and Woodley, in a debate in Parliament last Wednesday, as part of my ongoing campaign to pause and fix UC.
Why should Thames Valley residents have to pay for the cost of policing Donald Trump’s visit to Blenheim Palace
President Trump visited Blenheim Palace last week at huge cost to local council taxpayers who are having to foot the bill for the extra policing.
I think this is wrong and unfair to residents in Reading, Woodley and Caversham and I am calling for the Government to pay for the cost of policing this national event, rather than it being handed on to local council tax payers, and I was on BBC South making this point.
Unlocking the creative potential of Reading Jail
I’m supporting calls for Reading Jail to be used to help celebrate our culture and heritage and I met with campaigners to discuss how I can work with them and Reading Borough Council to help make the most of the site.
There are some interesting proposals for how this could be carried out, which include plans to build a theatre at the back of the Jail as well as developing a centre to commemorate Oscar Wilde, including preserving his cell and part of the inside of the prison.
Supporting our communities
I attended the South Reading Churches Fun Day, at Rabson’s Rec on Saturday, together with Reading West Parliamentary Candidate, Cllr Rachel Eden, Cllr Debs Edwards, the Mayor of Reading, Cllrs Ashley Pearce, Emmett McKenna and Ruth McEwan – it was a good opportunity to catch up with local residents.
I also went to Caversham Church Fete, in Caversham Court Gardens, which was also attended by Caversham councillor, Richard Davies.
In addition, there was a wonderful atmosphere at the Bastille Day event in Forbury Gardens, which was organised by Buba Demele. It was good to also show my support for this outstanding event which has now been running for several years.
I also had a number of other meetings, including with environmental groups, community groups concerned about cuts to bus services.