Victoria Groulef

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Labour's Woman to Woman battle bus has been hitting the roads to highlight women's issues that are often ignored or sidelined.

Today it rolled into Reading West.

At a meeting held at the Whitley Social Club and Café, Seema Malhotra MP joined Labour's MP candidate Victoria Groulef to discuss issues such as childcare, social care, equal pay, and creating more role models.

Victoria said, "It was an honour to be in that room and listen to so many women talk about the biggest issues of our time. They didn't care about the paint job, they cared about being listened to and having an MP who'll sort out their problems. We need MPs who will get out into the supermarkets and stand outside the school gates, like this bus of MPs is doing all over the country, and I would do as Reading West's MP."

With so many women concerned by how the Government's legal aid cuts disproportionately affect women who are victims of domestic violence, the meeting also discussed how Labour could support women.

Labour's spokesperson for stopping violence against women and girls, Seema listened to personal accounts of how the Government's legal aid cuts are making it difficult to qualify for courtroom representation.

A report published last December by the Labour Women's Safety Commission called for better access to legal aid via the widening of types of evidence needed to support an allegation of domestic violence.

The Conservative-led Government's over-strict tests for bringing evidence of domestic violence are directly blocking victims of domestic abuse from getting the legal aid that they so badly need.

Victoria said, "Women often face tough choices: trapped in an abusive relationship that puts themselves and their children in danger or funding legal representation themselves with a likelihood of falling into debt. Legal aid is a lifeline for abuse victims and I'm glad a Labour Government would ensure victims can access legal aid to bring their case to court."

The meeting also heard from women who, among other things, had set up a community cafe, launched local charities, were supporting people as they tackled their drug and alcohol problems, and worked in schools. Victoria said, "We have a huge number of local role models who are keen to do more and already inspiring younger women in the community. But, there was agreement in the room that we need more female role models, on our doorstep and further afield."

Woman to Woman tour rolls into Whitley

Labour's Woman to Woman battle bus has been hitting the roads to highlight women's issues that are often ignored or sidelined.

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This week Labour published a Better Plan for Britain's Prosperity: a modern industrial strategy for businesses and working families to succeed together.

Speaking at the of launch the plan in the South East at Microsoft's offices on Thames valley park, Labour Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, said that Labour's plan for creating wealth is about boosting productivity in every business and sector of the British economy.

The plan sets out Labour's approach to building prosperity in 21st Century Britain - a different approach to creating prosperity, not relying on a few but boosting productivity across Britain's firms and workforce. It means supporting people in Reading by reforming our economy so it produces a more inclusive prosperity rather than relying on redistributing through tax and spend.

Labour's better plan will guarantee every school leaver in our area that gets the right grades a high quality apprenticeship, just as people with good A' levels have a de facto right to go to university.

And it will put small businesses first in line for tax cuts and ensure smaller firms have the support they need to invest, innovate and raise their productivity.

Victoria said: "Labour's plan will deliver a modern industrial strategy for businesses and people in Reading West to succeed together. It's about improving training and apprenticeships, including guaranteeing every school leaver that gets the right grades a high quality apprenticeship and handing more economic power to every part of the UK with £30 billion of devolved funding. Above all it's about acknowledging what currently is working well and improving it so that irrespective of who is in power we work together to ensure that we get the very best for our area."

A better plan for prosperity

This week Labour published a Better Plan for Britain's Prosperity: a modern industrial strategy for businesses and working families to succeed together.

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Victoria Groulef has criticised Conservative-led West Berkshire Council for making decisions about where new homes will be built in secret.

The Council's Planning Policy Task group is drawing up a plan that will recommend where new homes could be built in the district, including Pincents Hill and Clements Mead. This Group is meeting in private and refusing to release the minutes of their meetings.

In an open letter to the Council, Victoria has demand that the Group hold all meetings in public and release the minutes of its meetings so far to shine a light on all of its decisions to date.

After the Council refused to answer Victoria's letters, she placed a formal Freedom of Information Request for the Group's minutes. The Council again refused to release the information. In early January, Victoria called for a formal review of this refusal. Once again, the Council refused to publish the minutes.

Victoria said, "Along with residents, I'm extremely worried. People in West Berks have the right to have a say on the matters affecting their lives. I am calling on the Council to start listening to their residents and take on board widespread concern about how its business is conducted. With such secrecy and stonewalling, it's no wonder trust in politics is at an all-time low."

Victoria continued: "If the Council refuse mine and residents' calls for a third time, I will refer them to the Information Commissioner, the independent body that upholds the law and has the power to serve a fine of up to £500,000 in the most serious cases. People in West Berks have the right to have their say on important matters affecting their lives and they can only do that if information about what is going on is in the public domain."

West Berks Council called undemocratic

Victoria Groulef has criticised Conservative-led West Berkshire Council for making decisions about where new homes will be built in secret.

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Victoria Groulef has today backed the launch of #ShapeYourFuture - Labour’s plan for the next generation.

#ShapeYourFuture will put the ideas and aspirations of young people at the heart of Labour’s plans for the general election and for government. 

Ahead of National Voter Registration Day, Victoria met with a group of young people to discuss the issues that matter to them. Overwhelmingly the young people who Victoria met wanted their voices heard in the political process.

Labour's consultation runs until 16th February and Victoria has called on as many local young people as possible to participate in the consultation by visiting www.Labour.org.uk/ShapeYourFuture and by tweeting their ideas on the hashtag #ShapeYourFuture.

Victoria said: "Young people must be heard, loud and clear, in the general election and beyond. That's why I'm determined to do all I can to get local young people back on the electoral register, and casting their vote in May. This General Election is an opportunity for young people to shape their future with better policies on housing, jobs and pay. So make you sure you have a voice -- and then make sure you get heard -- because the stakes for your generation are greater than ever."

Labour’s plan for the next generation

Victoria Groulef has today backed the launch of #ShapeYourFuture - Labour’s plan for the next generation.


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