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  • Sharma speaks at Elvian School Inquiry | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    s first choice of location for the school is on the site of the former Elvian School Speaking at the Inquiry Alok spoke about his support for the WREN school describing WREN s ambitions as a fantastic vision to provide a 21st Century education and that he believed they would be able to deliver that vision on the Elvian site Alok pointed out the benefits of setting up a free school with the support of the local community and highlighted the achievements of All Saints Junior School which was set up by many of the same people involved with WREN and has recently been assessed to be Outstanding after its first OFSTED inspection In giving evidence Alok pointed out that a combination of demographic changes and poor planning by Reading Borough Council has put severe pressure on primary school places locally and this will feed into a shortage in secondary school places Alok went on to point out that Reading Borough may not be able to continue to rely on West Berkshire schools to provide for all the additional secondary school places it needs for Reading Borough students given that West 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 Planning Inspector makes a decision on this appeal he

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/553 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma delighted at WREN school success | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    my constituency and it has been an absolute joy to work with my friends at WREN in helping deliver this new school for our community My sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone involved with the WREN project but especially to Mischa Tytel and Nik Rusic for leading from the front Alok continued Of course now that we have the approval we need to work to deliver the new school and WREN will continue to have my support every step of the way as we look to the opening of the new 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

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/493 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma welcomes significant progress on campaign for new West Reading Secondary School | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    West Reading and praised members of the West Reading Education Network WREN for their hard work in trying to make the new school a reality Having completed the initial stage of the application and been judged by the Department for Education to have a strong application WREN have now been formally invited to attend an interview with department officials on 8 March 2013 If the application is successful the school could open its doors for the first time in September 2014 One of the criteria by which the WREN application will be judged is the level of support in the local community for a new secondary school so the WREN team have been asking parents that would be interested in sending their child to the new school to sign up to an expression of interest survey More than 900 parents have now signed up to the survey with 89 of respondents stating that they would commit to sending their child or children to The WREN school The group have hit or exceeded nearly all of the targets set by the Department for Education for respondents including 126 of the required signatures 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 community and we could not have got this far

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/454 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma attends public meeting to back new Reading free school bid | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    many of the parents who helped launch Reading s first free school 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 WREN and CfBT Schools Trust aim to create an exceptional secondary school that reflects the needs of local people ready to open in September 2014 WREN is in the late stages of developing its business plan for the school which has then got to be submitted to the Department for Education 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

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/418 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma & Wilson slam Government’s hikes to business rates during recession | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    rises in their bills this year with the prospect of even bigger hikes next year After rent and staff business rates are the next biggest cost to local firms This comes as a survey by the Local Government Association has found that 4 out of 5 councils are reporting an increase in empty shops in town centres Reading East MP Rob Wilson and Reading West Candidate Alok Sharma criticised a number of Government policies that are pushing up tax bills Inflation busting rise this April Business rates are to rise by 5 0 per cent this April despite RPI inflation forecast to be negative due to a statistical quirk in the way business rate rises are calculated This will increase the burden of rates by 1 billion a year The average business rate bill in Reading is currently 19 380 this rise will push it up to 20 349 End of transitional relief from the 2005 revaluation Transitional relief from the 2005 business rates revaluation has now expired further pushing up bills for many firms in April 2009 by two or three times and raising another 100 million for the 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 this relief was automatic The Government really needs to start

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/32 (2016-02-14)
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  • Wilson and Sharma back Bill to support small businesses | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Reading East MP Rob Wilson and Reading West Parliamentary Candidate Alok Sharma announced their support this week for a Private Members Bill PMB which would see business rate relief granted automatically for small businesses a vital boost during the economic downturn The Small Business Rate Relief Automatic Payment Bill was recently tabled by Peter Luff MP Chairman of the Business and Enterprise committee Roughly half of eligible businesses currently do not claim the relief according to Conservative Party research The reason is that many simply don t know it exists 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

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/46 (2016-02-14)
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  • Business and Enterprise Committee Chairman visits Reading | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    present at the meeting included Brian Eastman Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Reading and West Berkshire Branch and local FSB co ordinator Karen Durcan as well as Tim Evans Chairman of the Thames Valley Economic Partnership After the meeting Mr Luff said I came here today to support Alok Sharma our excellent Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West and also as part of my work as Business and Enterprise Committee Chairman to listen to local businesses and understand what can be done to support them through some very difficult 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

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/48 (2016-02-14)
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  • Sharma chairs sixth public meeting with Thames Valley Police in Calcot | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Thames Valley Police The meeting took place on Thursday 20th June 2013 at Kennet Valley Free Church in Calcot and was attended by in excess of 50 people Alok chaired the meeting which was also attended by the head of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team Inspector Warren McKeown Neighbourhood Sergeant Michael Adams and West Berkshire Council Crime Reduction Manager Rachel Craggs Speaking on the panel Inspector McKeown highlighted the reduction in crime across the Calcot and Holybrook area including a reduction in the number of home break ins down from 115 April to March 2011 12 to 44 April to March 2012 13 and vehicle crime down from 141 2011 12 to 100 2012 13 Rachel Craggs spoke about her role within the Safer Communities Partnership to help co ordinate responses to crime and anti social behaviour with Thames Valley Police and Sovereign Housing as well working with offenders to help stop repeat crimes The Safer Communities Partnership brings together West Berkshire Council Thames Valley Police Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Probation who work collaboratively to ensure that West Berkshire continues to be a safe place to live work and visit The panel were later questioned on a number of policing and local issues including the need for security lights on garages anti social driving issues what the public can do to help the police the priorities of the Police enforcement of bus lanes speeding and incidents of anti social behaviour Alok Sharma said This meeting was another excellent opportunity to hear residents concerns about local policing issues and to enhance the dialogue between the police and the wider community and I will be following up on a number of the issues raised with local residents Alok continued I was very pleased to hear about the

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/node/514 (2016-02-14)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-27