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Wokingham’s Waste: Bags of problems

Lib Dems at Wokingham Borough Council are concerned that residents are still experiencing problems several months into the new waste collection contract. Complaints are regularly coming in about difficulties in contacting Veolia and about poor customer service.

Cllr Sam Rahmouni (Bulmershe & Whitegates ward) says, “One resident who contacted me had been trying to order extra blue bags for several weeks. They had repeatedly left messages with Veolia but never heard anything back. When they did finally manage to speak to someone they were promised extra bags in 10 days and three weeks later were still waiting. By then they had run out of bags. Veolia told them to take the rubbish to the tip themselves or borrow bags from their neighbours. As they are only allowed to order 10 bags, when they finally get them it will be time to start the whole thing all over again! What sort of customer service is that? Two things need to happen. Veolia need to sort out their dreadful customer service. And the council need to review how many bags people get.”

The Lib Dems will continue to press for these – and all the other waste problems to be sorted out.

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Wokingham Borough Council: An extension into Political Statement?

Wokingham’s Lib Dems are furious at an attempt by Conservative-run Wokingham Borough Council to offload blame for an unpopular government policy onto the Liberal Democrats, violating the requirement for councils to be politically neutral.

On 7th┬áSeptember, the Council issued a press release about the government’s plans to relax the rules on planning permission for home extensions. In the press release the new policy was associated with Nick Clegg, although it is Eric Pickles (Con) area of ministerial responsibility and both Eric Pickles and David Cameron had been involved in announcing it.

The press release came out despite official notice having been sent to officers that there was a greater than usual need for political neutrality during the period of the by-election for Wokingham Town Council which started on 5th September.

Cllr Prue Bray, Leader of Wokingham’s Lib Dems, said “For the Council to solely blame Nick Clegg for something which is likely to be unpopular is not acceptable. The decision to relax the rules is a decision of the Coalition government, mainly driven by the Chancellor. The Conservatives are at least as responsible for it as the Liberal Democrats – in fact more, as they have the majority of the cabinet and Eric Pickles, a Conservative, is responsible for planning policy.

“I am deeply concerned that the Council is publishing material that appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party, something explicitly forbidden by law during an election. Do the Conservatives think they can just ignore the law?”

Lib Dems Announce Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate

The Lib Dems across Berks, Bucks & Oxon have selected a leading campaigner and magistrate as their Thames Valley candidate in the Police & Crime Commissioner election on 15 November – Professor John Howson.

John Howson knows a thing or two about crime. Businessman, Academic, Licensing Justice, and victim of crime, as well as a former government adviser.

Commenting on his selection, Professor John Howson said: “Although the Lib Dems were happy with the existing arrangements for scrutinising the police, the new role has become much wider than just its original intention of holding the Chief Constable to account. Commissioners will play a strategic role in the management of the fight against crime across the Thames Valley, and this embraces discussions with many different agencies as well as the police.”

He continued: “As a businessman and former university head of department, I am used to the scrutiny of budgets, and have written about concepts such as activity based costing.

“Policing in England is a matter of consent. Currently, too much crime is linked to addiction, whether drug or alcohol related. Helping to stop re-offending is the best way to keep down police spending in the future.

“As a victim of a classroom stabbing when a teacher, having experienced four burglaries in my adult life, and been involved in two road traffic accidents, I know the effects crimes can have not only on the direct victim, but also on others in the wider community.”

A resident in Oxfordshire for more than 30 years, he also knows the diversity of the Thames Valley police area having been involved with training teachers across the three counties for more than ten years.

Lib Dem Regional Chair and West Oxfordshire councillor, Liz Leffman, said: “We are delighted to have such an experienced campaigner, with an excellent knowledge of policing and crime, as our candidate for Thames Valley.”

Posted in Elections | Comments Off on Lib Dems Announce Thames Valley Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate

Published by Woodley & Whitegates Liberal Democrats, 26 Farriers Close Woodley, Reading RG5 3DD.

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