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  • Alok Sharma welcomes Government policies for growth and jobs | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    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 Alok Sharma welcomes Government policies for growth and jobs During an Opposition Day debate on the work of the Department For Business Innovation And Skills Alok Sharma congratulates the Government on introducing business friendly policies that will lead to growth and jobs Alok Sharma Reading West Con The right hon Gentleman talks about a wasted year Does he not acknowledge that he was part of a Government who wasted 13 years increasing taxes on businesses national insurance regulation and the complexity of the tax system and doing everything to stifle jobs and growth Does he not agree that he should be congratulating this Government on reversing many of those excesses and thanking us for putting in place a policy that will lead to growth and jobs Mr Denham However I would simply point out that I

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/alok-sharma-welcomes-government-policies-growth-and-jobs (2016-02-14)
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  • Localism Bill Debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    Under the previous Conservative Government between 1979 and 1996 an average of 171 000 homes were built every year across England By contrast under Labour with its top down approach and targets an average of only 145 000 homes were built each year between 1997 and 2009 The problem with the current planning system is that it is not seen to be fair to local communities It seeks to drown out their voices rather than to amplify them Despite the clear wishes of local communities and local councils the local view is that developers eventually ram through inappropriate developments on appeal Stephen Gilbert Does my hon Friend agree that one thing missing from the Bill is the third party right of appeal which would be another tool in the armoury of local residents Alok Sharma My hon Friend makes an interesting point and I am sure that the Minister will take it up when he responds to the debate The perception is that there is little upside for local communities in taking larger developments in their area All such developments seem to offer is more traffic more congestion more pressure on local public services the loss of valuable green spaces and amenities and a detrimental impact on the local environment Overall the current planning system seems to lead in many larger development proposals to a gladiatorial contest pitting local residents against the might and resources of developers Neil Carmichael Will my hon Friend give way Alok Sharma No I will not Some of those who are opposed to localism will argue that the Bill will encourage nimbyism but I could not disagree more with them Let me give hon Members a couple of recent examples from my constituency that demonstrate that communities are willing to accept new homes that fit into the local area The Bath road reservoir site is a 5 4 acre green lung in the centre of Reading It is owned by Thames Water which first tried to get planning permission to build on it 13 years ago Three years ago it resurrected its plans to develop the site and proposed a scale of development that was completely unacceptable to the local community and out of character with the local area With the fantastic local campaigners of the Save the Bath Road Reservoir campaign group I met the then chief executive of Thames Water As part of our discussion we suggested that it may want to consider a smaller and more appropriate development but the local community s voice fell on deaf ears Thames Water submitted a planning application that did not have the support of the local community The application was subsequently rejected by Reading borough council but Thames Water appealed the decision We found out last week that thankfully the appeal has been rejected What was the result of the 13 years of time effort and money spent by all parties involved Zero new homes were built on the site A more collaborative approach might

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/localism-bill-debate (2016-02-14)
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  • Higher Education Fees Debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    point It is clear that Labour s opposition to the change in tuition fees is all about party politics and opposition for its own sake Several hon Members rose Alok Sharma No I will not give way now That approach comes from a party that appears to have no consistent or developed policy on higher education funding The Leader of the Opposition who is not in his place has said that that Labour party policy is a blank sheet of paper Well is it not time that he started scribbling on it The Opposition have raised a number of objections to the proposed tuition fees increase They say that it will put people off going to university that it will have a negative impact on social mobility and that overall the increase is just not fair Let us examine each of those points Will the increase put students off going to university Tuition fees have been in place for more than a decade and the number of students has increased by 44 Why the increase It is because students realise that having a good degree adds value to their prospects and is a passport to a better job OECD figures clearly indicate that UK graduates earn on average 50 more than those who finished education at A level Mr MacNeil Will the hon Gentleman give way Alok Sharma No I will not just now because I want to make some progress The proposed changes will be an important step in ensuring that the money follows the student and will go further towards making universities more accountable to students as customers I do not subscribe to the view that the proposal will reduce social mobility because it ensures that no one has to pay anything up front and no one has to repay anything until they earn at least 21 000 a year a 40 increase on the current figure Everyone whatever their background will be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a university education Mr MacNeil If the hon Gentleman is such a supporter of tuition fees will he pay 9 000 for every year that he was at university Alok Sharma Another tax rise That is what we get from the Opposition Another tax rise They left us with the biggest budget deficit of all time and now the hon Gentleman proposes that we increase taxes further That is their answer to absolutely everything Let me continue with the proposed extra help Through the national scholarship programme the increase in maintenance grants and the required checks to ensure that universities take people from disadvantaged backgrounds before they are able to charge more than 6 000 social mobility will be further encouraged But social mobility Several hon Members rose Alok Sharma No I will not give way because I do not have much time left Social mobility starts at school and a report in November 2008 by the Teaching and Learning Research Programme called Widening participation in

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/higher-education-fees-debate (2016-02-14)
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  • MP welcomes free school moves | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    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 MP welcomes free school moves Speaking in a debate on education funding and school reform in the House of Commons Alok Sharma welcomes moves to open a free school for 120 pupils in September next year Alok Sharma Reading West Con In addition to welcoming the success of the academies in my hon Friend s constituency does he also welcome as I do the Secretary of State s recent decision to allow the National Education Trust the Centre for British Teachers and the Friends of All Saints school to move forward to the next stage of setting up a free school in my constituency with the aim of opening a 120 pupil school in September next year That local school is backed by local people and

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/mp-welcomes-free-school-moves (2016-02-14)
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  • Budget Debate: Alok Sharma welcomes support for small businesses | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    past four years I spent a lot of time talking to businesses and business organisations in Reading so I should like to spend the rest of my speech talking about the measures in the Budget for them particularly small and medium sized businesses which are the backbone of our economy save to make one point on public services We can all agree that we want a world class health service and the best schools for our children and we want dignity and financial support in retirement for our pensioners but to fund high quality public services we need a vibrant private sector to lead growth and recovery Businesses in my constituency in the past few years have invariably told me that they feel overtaxed overburdened by red tape and regulation and overwhelmed by a complex tax system They want help in getting credit flowing The base rate may be 0 5 but that bears little relation to the spreads that businesses must pay when they go for bank debt We need to get to grips with that Above all businesses want us to tackle national debt and to get some confidence back into the country That is what we hope the Budget will do We talked about over regulation and the tax system Because of the previous Government we now have the longest tax code in the world According to the Federation of Small Businesses small businesses spend seven hours a week filling out forms According to the British Chambers of Commerce new regulation since 1998 has cost British businesses almost 77 billion The Thames valley and Reading are relatively prosperous parts of the country but the recession did not pass us by Shops closed businesses folded and people lost jobs Labour Members say that Labour did a lot to help local businesses but I can tell them that local businesses in my part of the world and the rest of the country got by because they helped themselves They increased productivity and took pay cuts and instead of people working five days a week they worked four There has been a lot of pain in the private sector Heather Wheeler South Derbyshire Con My hon Friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the fact that small and larger businesses have taken the hit We hear so often from Labour Members that they are worried about what is happening in the public sector but that sector needs to take a leaf out of the book of the private sector in which people have taken 10 cuts and four day weeks That has not happened at all in the public sector We are looking for an increase in productivity A 25 reduction does not necessarily Mr Speaker Order I just very gently say to the hon Lady that an intervention must be just that it must not be a mini speech Alok Sharma Thank you Mr Speaker On Government help for local businesses during the height of the recession I

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/budget-debate-alok-sharma-welcomes-support-small-businesses (2016-02-14)
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  • Banking Reform Debate | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    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 Banking Reform Debate Alok Sharma backs Government proposals to reform the banking regulation sector Alok Sharma Reading West Con Does my hon Friend agree with the Governor of the Bank of England s assessment that there was little real reform of banking regulation under the last Government and that the Opposition should therefore welcome the measures that we are setting out today Mr Hoban I hope that the Opposition will welcome the measures but their views were not very clear from what the shadow Treasury spokesman said In the past three or four years when we have debated the reform of parts of the banking regulation sector the problem has been that the then Government were unable to engage in the fundamental debate about whether the architecture

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/banking-reform-debate (2016-02-14)
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  • Alok makes his maiden speech | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    his 25 years of public service first as a local councillor and then as the Member of Parliament for Reading West Like Sir Anthony before him he was a champion of local causes a dedicated constituency MP and he stood up for all the people of Reading West I very much hope to continue in that fine tradition and serve each and every one my constituents to the best of my abilities I turn now to my wonderful constituency of Reading West which stretches from the villages of Theale Tidmarsh and Pangbourne in the west to the more urban areas of Coley and Whitley towards the east I grew up and went to school in Reading and for me Reading is quite simply home It is a confident and vibrant town full of aspirational and hard working people As a settlement Reading was founded in the 8th century and was listed in the Domesday Book as a growing population centre much as it is today Reading abbey was built by Henry I in 1121 where he is also buried Although Reading has a long and honourable history it is now very much a modern place Originally famous for producing beer biscuits and bulbs Reading is now a high tech and service industry hub and is home to many locally grown businesses as well as international companies such as Microsoft Oracle and Cisco Reading also offers culture with the internationally renowned Reading music festival being held every August Hon Members with a liking for contemporary music should know that a few tickets are still available for this year s festival The very fine Madejski football stadium is located in my constituency and I am sure that before too long we will see Reading football club return to its rightful place in the premiership In their maiden speeches many Members have mentioned great historical figures who are connected with their constituency but as I said Reading is a modern place so I would like to mention just two of the recent renowned sons and daughters of our great town Kate Winslet was born and grew up in Reading Her parents are constituents of mine We are very proud of Miss Winslet s Oscar winning achievements Locally Miss Winslet s mother is also a winner Last year she was awarded first prize in a local pub s pickled onion making competition Who says Reading cannot match Hollywood s glamour The comedian and actor Mr Ricky Gervais grew up in Whitley not far from where my parents lived when they first moved to Reading I do not know Mr Gervais personally but it is entirely possible that we loitered in the same shopping precinct when we were youngsters Of course one of us has now gone on to great things and the other has become a Member of Parliament I am very pleased to be making my maiden speech during this debate on emerging economies one of the largest of which is India I

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/alok-makes-his-maiden-speech (2016-02-14)
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  • Bastille Day Festival | Alok Sharma MP - Member of Parliament for Reading West
    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 Bastille Day Festival 13th July 2015 Alok Sharma the Member of Parliament for Reading West attended the opening ceremony of the Bastille Day Festival on Saturday 11th September in Forbury Gardens Reading Bastille Day is a French national holiday that commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789 It also celebrates the victory of the Federation which celebrates the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790 To this day the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July on the Champs Élyséesin Paris in front of the President of the Republic French officials and foreign guests The Bastille Day Festival Reading started in 2012 when Vinz Valere a young Frenchman wanted to celebrate Bastille Day with his friends in Reading The self proclaimed Four Frogs Vinz Frédéric Eric and Boubacar set to work to bring the celebrations to Reading it was a great success and 2 500 people attended Bastille Day Festival Reading celebrates this important day in history and also and the local community gain a better understanding of French culture Alok Sharma cut the ribbon at the opening of the event and made a short speech welcoming the community Alok said I was delighted to be at the opening of The Bastille Festival Reading It is a great fun filled occasion that celebrates the community spirit of our town I look forward to many similarly successful events in the future Vinz one of the founders said it was a

    Original URL path: http://www.aloksharma.co.uk/content/bastille-day-festival (2016-02-14)
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