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  • Sharma delighted by Elvian School site appeal decision
    School site is the group s preferred site for the school In rejecting Taylor Wimpey s appeal the Inspectorate noted that the Taylor Wimpey scheme itself was of poor quality design that does not constitute sustainable development and would detract from the character and appearance of the locality The Inspectorate s appeal ruling also made clear that until there was greater clarity on the scale of secondary school provision required in the local area it would be inappropriate to allow residential development on the former Elvian School site that would prevent some form of secondary education provision there Alok Sharma said I am absolutely delighted to welcome this common sense decision and I congratulate WREN and everyone locally and nationally who has supported our efforts to see the former Elvian school site used for education Having now worked closely with the WREN team for many months I just want to reiterate how brilliant they all are and their enthusiasm vision and professionalism has been unfaltering throughout as they seek to put together a school providing outstanding education for our local Reading children Alok continued I very much hope that as a result of this decision the owners of the former

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/605 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma speaks at Elvian School Inquiry
    Berkshire Council faces it own significant bulge in primary school places which will work its way into secondary school numbers Almost 800 children from Reading Borough currently attend schools in West Berkshire which means Reading Borough will soon face a double whammy in additional pressure on secondary school places Alok also dispelled suggestions made by the Taylor Wimpey team that the site would not be available for the WREN school explaining to the Inquiry that Taylor Wimpey do not actually own the site which is in fact owned by the charity LVS Alok was also able to quote an email from the owners of the Elvian site which made clear they were happy to meet with WREN if the Taylor Wimpey appeal failed as well as correspondence from the Education Funding Agency which stated that it had not ruled out purchasing the Elvian site if it became available in the future During the evidence session Alok also explained that aside from the need for the site to be used as a school the application was unsuitable because Both the Bath Road and Southcote Lane already experience a high level of traffic and local residents are concerned about the huge additional impact the proposed development will have on these roads The traffic impact of this development will be further exacerbated by the cumulative impact of other recent developments in the close vicinity of this site and the current development on the Bath Road Reservoir site 193 new dwellings will undoubtedly place excessive pressures on local schools and on other local services such as the local GP surgery The site was deemed suitable by Reading Borough Council for 70 to 100 dwellings and the proposed 193 dwellings are far in excess of that number Alok Sharma said I hope that when the

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/553 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma delighted at WREN school success
    school in September 2014 Mischa Tytel said We are absolutely delighted that we have been entrusted by the Department for Education to open the first Secondary Free School in Reading with our partners at the CfBT Schools Trust We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the past six months especially Alok Sharma and his team This is a great day for the community of Central West Reading WREN is working in partnership with the CfBT Schools Trust the academies and free schools arm of CfBT Education Trust one of the UK s largest education charities Alok has been involved in supporting the school s bid since the beginning of the application process In January 2013 Alok wrote to the head teachers of primary schools in the local area on behalf of WREN asking whether they would allow representatives from WREN to come into their school to meet parents and present their plans for the new school to raise awareness and support for the plans Alok also wrote a letter of support for the school to the Department for Education pointing out the huge pressure on school places in Reading and the experience of the WREN team putting forward the application explaining that many of those involved had also been involved in setting up All Saints Junior Free School which was the first Free School in Reading In a response from Michael Gove the Secretary of State at the Department for Education assured Alok that these points would be taken into account by Department officials Alok has promised to write a letter to all primary schools in the catchment area for the new school to ask whether they will host meetings for parents interested in learning more about the new school More information about the school is

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/493 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma welcomes significant progress on campaign for new West Reading Secondary School
    from parents in year 4 and 109 from parents in year 5 In January 2013 Alok Sharma wrote to the head teachers of primary schools in the local area on behalf of WREN asking whether they would allow representatives from WREN to come into their school to meet parents and present their plans for the new school to raise awareness and support for the plans WREN have now held meetings or attended parents evenings at Battle Primary School Katesgrove Primary School Manor Primary School Oxford Road Community School and Saint Mary and All Saints School Alok has also written a letter of support for the school to the Department for Education pointing out the huge pressure on school places in Reading and the experience of the WREN team putting forward the application explaining that many of those involved had also been involved in setting up All Saints Junior Free School which was the first Free School in Reading In a response from Michael Gove the Secretary of State at the Department for Education assured Alok that these points would be taken into account by Department officials Alok Sharma said It is good news that WREN have been invited to interview stage by the Department for Education and I congratulate the WREN team for all of the hard work that has been put in to this application so far I would like to thank all of the primary schools in the local area that have been very supportive of the application and wish WREN the best of luck at the interview stage Mischa Tytel from WREN said We are all very excited to be going to interview with DfE next week This has been a real community project from its beginning in November involving parents schools and members of the local

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/454 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma attends public meeting to back new Reading free school bid
    for approval before permission for the school to be set up can be granted The meeting is one of several being held across Central West Reading to gauge public support for the idea and was attended by a large number of parents concerned about the lack of secondary school places in Reading Alok Sharma said I am absolutely delighted to be supporting WREN s plans to establish a new secondary school in my constituency It was a real pleasure for me to work with the parents who successfully set up Reading s first Free School All Saints Junior And the fact that many of the same parents and community leaders are behind the WREN initiative provides a real boost for this project Alok continued Part of the criteria the Department for Education require for approval of an application for a new school is that there is strong support for the new school in the local community We do need more school places in Reading and the WREN school initiative is one we should all get behind I would therefore urge any parents in the area who have concerns about the number of secondary school places in Reading to attend a meeting to learn more or simply complete a survey which have been distributed to 20 primary schools and can also be filled out online Mischa Tytel from WREN said There is a massive need for school places in Reading particularly in the Central West Area We want to build an inclusive community secondary school that will focus on providing excellent education and life skills to local children WREN are delighted to be working in partnership with the CfBT Schools Trust along with Alok Sharma and Reading Borough Council It was a great event with lots of parents coming out to

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/418 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma & Wilson slam Government’s hikes to business rates during recession
    Government Small shops to be hammered by the 2010 revaluation The April 2010 rates revaluation will adversely hit the retail sector because of the Government s decision to use April 2008 as the snapshot for the revaluation when relative retail rents were artificially high compared to industrial and office rents The resulting rating hikes could push many small shops out of small business rate relief meaning rocketing bills New empty property hike When Chancellor Gordon Brown slashed back rate relief on empty properties As the recession bites firms are unable to rent out vacant property and have to pay rates in full without any income from rent This has increased rates by 1 billion in 2008 09 and by a further 715 million from this April Retrospective ports tax Firms located within ports across the country face a further blow as the Government is imposing retrospective hikes on ports firms bills backdated to 2005 The car industry is particularly badly hit making a mockery of Lord Mandelson s claims to be helping it Poor take up of small business relief Small firms are not claiming small business rate relief because they have to fill out complex paperwork By contrast in Wales small business rate relief has been automatic since 2007 New supplementary business rate The Government is currently passing new laws to allow town halls to levy a supplementary business rate which may raise over 600 million a year Local authorities will be forced to levy this charge because of cuts to the Local Authority Business Growth Incentive Scheme meaning less revenue for councils Alok Sharma said With support from the Federation of Small Businesses we have been running a campaign to encourage local businesses to apply for Small Business Rate Relief but it would be so much easier if

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/32 (2016-02-14)
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  • Wilson and Sharma back Bill to support small businesses
    This is why Rob and Alok have taken the decision to further their local Small Business Rate Relief campaign by working with Peter Luff to introduce legislation that would ensure that local authorities include the exemption on rate bills automatically Peter Luff visited Reading last week to discuss the campaign According to the Local Government Association LGA 400 million was left unclaimed by businesses entitled to rate relief in 2006 and they estimate that the relief can save businesses up to 2 500 a year A similar Bill making rate relief automatic was passed into law in Wales in April 2007 Commenting on the Bill Rob said I m delighted that my Hon Friend Peter Luff has tabled this Bill It takes the Conservatives campaign to help small businesses to the next level and it has my full support Wales has passed a similar Bill into law and I can t see why this Government hasn t made similar steps during these difficult times for the economy It is quite evident that the Government has botched its handling of the economic crisis and people are having to rely on Conservatives for the ideas to get the country out of this mess created by Gordon Brown Alok added It was great to see Peter Luff in Reading last week and together he and I had a very good discussion with local representatives of the Federation of Small Businesses who are fully behind Peter s excellent Small Business Rate Relief Automatic Payment Bill Despite a lot of huffing and puffing from Government Ministers about new initiatives to help business the reality is that many local businesses have seen no easing of credit from lenders no practical help from Government and no assistance with business cashflow issues Peter s Bill will if passed

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/46 (2016-02-14)
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  • Business and Enterprise Committee Chairman visits Reading
    economic times It has been a very constructive discussion and I have noted the issues which have been raised by local businesses The Conservatives have already proposed a number of measures to help businesses such as our proposal for a 50 billion National Loan Guarantee Scheme which will get credit flowing and save jobs our proposal to reduce employment costs for small businesses by cutting National Insurance and through a tax break for new jobs and our proposal to help small businesses with cash flow by delaying VAT bills for six months Mr Luff continued I have personally teamed up with the FSB to help small businesses and am sponsoring a private members bill the Small Business Rate Relief Automatic Payment Bill to ensure that rate relief applies automatically for small firms Making these payments automatic would ensure the money gets directly to those who need it It will be a boost to small businesses and even cut administrative costs for the local authorities that promote the availability of the rate relief Rates are the third largest item of expenditure for small businesses after wages and rents so this relief would make a huge difference Alok Sharma said The sad fact is that thanks to Gordon Brown s addiction to debt and the Labour Government not fixing the roof when the sun was shining Britain has gone into this recession very badly prepared with record levels of debt and according to the most recent economic forecasts from the European Commission the UK is forecast to experience the worst recession of any of the major EU economies Unfortunately the market now judges that the UK is almost three times more likely to default on its debt than a comparable economy like Germany and the cost of insuring British Government debt against

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/48 (2016-02-14)
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