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  • Sharma raises public sector pensions issue at Prime Minister's Questions
    directly contributed to the demise of defined benefit schemes in the private sector Prime Minister David Cameron responded The Prime Minister My hon Friend makes an extremely good point and I note that we are 26 minutes into Question Time yet we have not heard a squeak from Labour Members about strikes pensions or the need for reform Because they are all paid for by the trade unions they cannot talk about this issue What the coalition Government are doing is right because we are saying that we want to have a defined benefit system in the public sector We want to make sure all those accrued rights are kept and people will still be able to take those accrued rights at the age they were originally allowed to take them Just to put this beyond doubt when people who are currently in a final salary scheme get the accrued benefits they will be based on their final salary not their final salary now or when the reforms go through but the final salary when they retire As so much myth and misinformation has been put around by some in the trade unions it is important to put that on

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/237 (2016-02-14)
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  • Pensions Bill debate
    and Pensions the right hon Member for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle Alan Johnson told the TUC This Government will not raise the state pension age yet Labour s Pensions Commission reported in 2005 that the pension age should go up and in the Pensions Act 2007 the Labour party legislated to increase it for men and women Mr Duncan Smith Indeed I welcome that comment from my hon

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/228 (2016-02-14)
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  • City Status (Reading) debate
    tempted by Reading s offer Perhaps he will tell me in his response whether he would like me to reserve some accommodation for him during August Mr John Redwood Wokingham Con I wish my hon Friend every success He is making an elegant case for city status for Reading but will he reassure Wokingham that no extraterritorial demands will be made if Reading gains the honour of being a city Alok Sharma I thank my right hon Friend for raising that point Our bid is clear It is based on the document Reading is a friendly town its Members of Parliament are extremely friendly and we will certainly ensure that whatever Reading does in future is on a co operative and friendly basis Educationally Reading offers a centre of excellence in many areas We have a top rated university that carries out internationally recognised work across various departments including cybernetics meteorology engineering and agriculture The university s Henley business school is an international leader Some of our state schools such as Kendrick school for girls and Reading school for boys consistently top the national league tables for exam results as do a number of our independent schools There is also the excellent Avenue school in the heart of my constituency a special school for boys and girls between the ages of two and 19 who have complex special educational needs I have seen at first hand the work that Avenue staff do with pupils and it is truly outstanding The school is a benchmark of excellence for special schools throughout the country I am also pleased that some schools in Reading have already embraced the freedom that academy status offers Several have converted to academies and others are considering conversion One of the first free schools in the country All Saints junior school backed by local parents and the community will open its door to pupils in my constituency in September The setting up of the school is a textbook case of go getting entrepreneurial Reading parents who want the best for all children in the town It reflects Reading s positive can do attitude The people of Reading are undoubtedly go getting I will talk shortly about the economic leadership that we provide but ours is also a caring and compassionate town We have one of the most active voluntary and community sectors in the south east Reading has more than 400 organisations that contribute to the town s well being and many volunteers who put something back into the local community Our Churches in particular are the backbone of many community organisations and provide support to all those in need of help and advice Some months ago I was asked to address a conference organised by Reading Voluntary Action The event was billed as a cross sector conference involving all agencies interested in growing a genuine big society in Reading The event was extremely well attended by voluntary groups from across Reading The big society is flourishing in

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/220 (2016-02-14)
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  • Education Questions: MP calls for businesses to help schools with careers advice
    in schools 56587 The Minister for Further Education Skills and Lifelong Learning Mr John Hayes Subject to the passage of the Education Bill schools will be under a new duty to secure access to independent and impartial careers guidance for their pupils from September 2012 Also an unprecedented degree of co operation with the careers industry means that we will have new professional standards training and accreditation Alok Sharma I thank the Minister for his work in this area Does he agree that more businesses also need to work in partnership with schools to provide careers advice Will he join me in applauding the companies that are backing the futures fair that I and others in my constituency are putting together for secondary schools in Reading Mr Hayes I am well aware as you Mr Speaker and the whole House will be of my hon Friend s commitment in that regard Indeed on 29 September under his leadership Reading West schools and others will be holding a futures fair It is critical that that becomes the norm not the exception with businesses schools careers guidance bodies and Government working together to turn people s ambitions into reality Hansard Alok Sharma

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/214 (2016-02-14)
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  • PM: Localism Bill will give local people greater influence over planning
    residents can use the Localism Bill to ensure it is spent correctly in future Alok Sharma Reading West Con An independent investigation is due to report on allegations that Reading borough council when last under Labour control diverted section 106 moneys to plug gaps in the general budget and also to fund unrelated projects Can the Prime Minister offer any advice on how residents can make use of the Localism Bill to ensure that section 106 money is spent correctly The Prime Minister I would make two points to my hon Friend First the Localism Bill gives local people a greater ability to influence what happens to section 106 money Secondly because of the new homes bonus councils that go ahead with building homes will get more money so they need not feel that they must go for one huge development in order to draw in the section 106 money It could be that a different pattern of development one more in tune with what local people want would deliver some of the benefits that local people want to see Hansard Alok Sharma MP Reading West The Reading West constituency embraces parts of two local unitary authorities Reading Borough and

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/210 (2016-02-14)
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  • MP calls for debate on taxpayer funding of union officials
    the practice of funding the salaries of full time union officials with council taxpayers money Alok Sharma Reading West Con May we have a debate on the practice in some councils of funding the salaries of full time union officials with taxpayers money to consider whether Members of this House believe that that is an appropriate use of taxpayers funds Sir George Young I commend my hon Friend on the initiative that he is taking to use freedom of information requests to find out more about the resources that are being allocated in that direction At a time of financial restraint I would expect all employers to ensure that such facilities are put to their proper use However at the end of the day it is up to the employer on the one hand and the trade union on the other to agree to an amount of time and then to see that that is not exceeded Hansard Alok Sharma MP Reading West The Reading West constituency embraces parts of two local unitary authorities Reading Borough and West Berkshire Reading Battle Kentwood Minster Norcot Southcote Tilehurst and Whitley West Berkshire Birch Copse Calcot Pangbourne Purley Theale and Westwood Copyright 2016

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/print/209 (2016-02-14)
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  • Big Society Debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    example of individuals being concerned about the possibility of being sued if they cleared snow from pavements It is a sad state of affairs that after 13 years of Labour that is where we had come to It was clear that the pendulum had swung too far in the wrong direction in terms of the role of the state versus the role of community Fostering a spirit of community engagement and social responsibility starts at home and school I suspect that many hon Members have been struck as I have when schoolchildren come to visit Westminster or when speaking at local schools by how engaged our young people seven and eight year olds are when talking about things in their neighbourhoods that they want to change We need to capture that enthusiasm and engagement and nurture it into adulthood so I welcome the Government s national citizen service which is aimed at 16 year olds and will help to deliver that Our charity and voluntary groups are the face of the big society in our towns and cities and form the backbone of civil society in our communities Reading is no different and has a vibrant and diverse voluntary sector Church communities play a big role in our town providing services that are open to all such as support for the homeless debt counselling advice and schooling for children who have been excluded from mainstream education because of behavioural difficulties Earlier this month I spoke at a local voluntary and community sector networking event in Reading at which there were well over 100 participants representing just about all the key community and voluntary sector groups in the town The event was billed as a cross section conference involving all agencies interested in growing a genuine Big Society in Reading It is absolutely clear that the voluntary and community sector in Reading is keen to grow the big society It wants to do more and believes in community empowerment Many in the sector welcome the Government s agenda of seeking to increase the role of charities and voluntary groups in delivering public services Locally I am very pleased that we are supporting such groups The Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition that now runs Reading borough council has increased funding for voluntary groups and there is much more flexibility in getting funding throughout the year There is now clear recognition which was not there before that voluntary groups should not be treated as a branch of Government that is there to deliver on Government targets but that they are there to deliver for local communities The Conservative run West Berkshire district council which also covers part of my constituency recently wrote to the Department for Communities and Local Government to apply to become a big society vanguard area following Liverpool s withdrawal In my part of Berkshire we certainly know what the big society is all about and we are supporting it More widely the beneficial effects of the Government s policy agenda

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/big-society-debate (2016-02-14)
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  • Youth Unemployment Debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Heathrow Airport Tackling overcrowding on trains Tackling potholes in Reading West Past Campaigns Exporting for Growth Seminar Battle Health Petition Boosting primary school places in Reading Delivery of Purley Bund Flood alleviation for Keswick Close and Ogmore Close Flood alleviation for Kingsley Close in Whitley NatWest Branch Closure in Pangbourne No to Pincents Hill Development Number 33 Bus Route Number 33 Bus Route Survey Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign Southcote rat infestation The Reading Futures Fair Underwood Road Precinct Development Visitor Parking Permits Letters Gallery Contact Links Youth Unemployment Debate Alok Sharma calls on Opposition MPs to back the coalition Government s policies which are offering a fresh start to young people in this country Alok Sharma Reading West Con The right hon Gentleman was part of a Government who presided over a record rise in youth unemployment As his Government s policies clearly did not work over 13 years should he not instead of carping from the sidelines get behind the policies of the coalition Government who are offering a fresh start to young people in this country Mr Byrne The hon Gentleman makes a point that is central to the debate to which I shall return in

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/youth-unemployment-debate (2016-02-14)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2016-10-26