Wokingham Liberal Democrats have written to Reading University urging them to reconsider their proposal to close their School of Health and Social Care in the light of the urgent need for more social workers in Reading and Wokingham boroughs.
Councillor Stephen Conway (Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Group and councillor for Twyford ward) said, “Both Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils have been judged by the government ‘inadequate’ at safeguarding our vulnerable children. Conservative-controlled Wokingham Borough Council was criticised for over-reliance on temporary social care staff.
“The council desperately needs to recruit permanent social workers to ensure the safety of our children. The obvious place for people to train is Reading University, which has an excellent reputation for training social workers of the highest quality.
“Wokingham Liberal Democrats have written to the University urging them to think again about axing this training. Such a closure would lead to potential social workers having to look much further afield for training, and this will inevitably result in fewer local people deciding to become social workers.
“We should be doing everything possible to encourage people to become social workers. The proposed closure of the Social Care Department couldn’t have come at a worse time for Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils.”
Wokingham Liberal Democrats are appalled that Wokingham Borough Council has been judged as “going backwards” in the latest government study of the council’s performance. A detailed review of the Council has resulted in the Council being downgraded from a 3-star council to a 2-star council.
Councillor Prue Bray (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Group and councillor for Winnersh ward) said, “This is a terrible indictment of how the Conservative led council has failed its residents. This is one of the few councils in the country that is actually going backwards rather than improving.
“The Tories only have themselves to blame for this dire result. This is a result of their poor leadership. They need to get their priorities right. And they need to learn to listen, both to the professional advice from their own council officers and to what the public wants.
“This is another wake-up call to the Conservative-run Council to get their act together. How many wake-up calls do they need before they take action to put things right?
Wokingham Liberal Democrats are furious that the Tory leader of the council, Councillor David Lee, is peddling misinformation about the amount of money that Wokingham Borough Council receives from the government.
In the latest Wokingham Borough News, it is stated as a ‘Financial Fact’ (page 15) that Wokingham Borough Council receives £45 million from government but that £55 million has to be given back.
Councillor Prue Bray (Leader of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Group and councillor for Winnersh ward) says, “David Lee is keeping up the pretence that the Council makes a £10 million loss, but this is simply not the case. Wokingham Borough Council has received £178 million from government this year. What has David done with the missing £133 million?
“I pointed out the figures were wrong at the Council’s budget meeting (19th February 2009), so I am surprised to see them reappearing in the Wokingham Borough News which is about to be sent out to all residents. The leader of the council is ignoring the facts in order to try and offload the blame for the poor state of the council’s finances. He is deliberately misleading the public and should have the decency to admit it.”