Today over 200 local people attended a public meeting about the future of Circuit Lane Surgery. The meeting was called by Victoria and local Southcote Councillors following news that the GP Partners at Circuit Lane Surgery had taken the decision to tender their resignations with NHS England (their contract with the surgery) and had given 6 months notice. Their contract comes to an end on 31st January 2015.
Victoria said: "The NHS are reassuring the Surgery's patients that they will continue to receive high quality, local GP service and that a process has already started to find a new provider from February 2015 onwards. However residents are still very concerned and that's why as a community we have launched a petition to retain a local GP surgery at Circuit Lane in Southcote and to explore every possibility of retaining the current GPs, including as part of any temporary process.
Local people are also calling on NHS England and the Minister of Health not to hand over the running of our surgery to a commercial private company and want to be fully involved in the decision making process about the future of the surgery. It is vital that the views and opinions of local people are heard."
Victoria concluded: "I think we need a world-class health and care service that is equipped to address the modern challenges that come from a growing population, an ageing population and more people living with chronic conditions. At the heart of this are our community GP's and that's just one of the reasons why I'm up for the fight to ensure that we keep the kind of local surgery people want at Circuit Lane."
You can sign the petition online here.
Victoria has welcomed plans by Reading's Labour-run Borough Council to build 1000 homes over the next 30 years, with the first phase taking place in Reading West constituency.
Demand for affordable homes in Reading is growing as private rents spiral. Reading Labour's proposal could deliver 100-plus new homes over the first phase of home building, including more than 40 at Conwy Close in West Reading. A further 250 new homes will be proposed over the next 5 years. The proposal goes before the Council's Policy Committee on Monday 22nd September.
Reading's Labour administration also has plans to invest in programmes that tackle the cost of heating for current Council tenants. New energy efficiency measures will strengthen the solar panel project pledged last November. Funds come from the Council's Housing Revenue Account, which is ring-fenced for meeting Reading people's housing needs.
Councillor Richard Davies, Lead Member for Housing said, "Only a Labour Administration would bring forward strong plans to tackle what I call Reading's housing crisis. Thousands of households are in need and homelessness in the town has trebled since 2011.
"The addition of up to 1000 homes - alongside improvements to the Council's existing accommodation represents a significant investment. This, on top of the newly delivered 40 homes for elderly people at Cedar Court and recently announced Supported Living Scheme nearby, furthers the Labour Council's commitment to providing good quality, affordable housing for people in our town."
Victoria said "I know people are struggling to afford a home in the private rental market. That's why building council homes with much more affordable rent is so important. I am very excited by these proposals and hope that plans go forward."
Victoria today joined Councillor Jo Lovelock to have fun at the Dee Park Carnival.
The Carnival, organised by The Pride of Dee Park, had street dancers, carnival hat making, face painting and a steel band.
Victoria said "I had a great time at the carnival and always look forward to Pride of Dee Park events. The jerk chicken was a s wonderful as ever and it was a great opportunity to bring the community together."
Victoria has given her support to parliamentary moves to enshrine the UK’s investment in the world’s poorest people in law.
On Friday (September 12) MPs will vote on a Private Member’s Bill to guarantee that the UK honours its promise to invest 0.7% of national income in foreign aid – in line with promises made forty years ago.
By relying on a percentage, this Bill pegs our aid to the performance of our economy. When our economy is doing well, we would give more of our increased income; when times are hard, we give less.
The importance of UK aid is clear. Our aid saves a child’s life every two minutes. No less importantly, we help to build better futures with access to cleaner water, more effective medical care, and life-saving education.
The last Labour Government gave the UK a leadership role in development issues. Helping to drop the debt, gain a global consensus on the Millennium Development Goals, and set the UK on course to meet its commitment to spend 0.7% of income are all landmark achievements. That’s why this debate and Friday’s vote matters so much.
Victoria said, “I know from my work in international development the huge difference that our aid makes to the lives of the poorest people in the world. Once we cement our aid commitment in law, we will be in a better position to give clearer focus to monitoring and measuring our aid, so that we invest in the highest quality education, healthcare, and other facilities and ensure that it is tightly tailored to the needs of the people accessing it. I call on Alok Sharma to pledge his support for this important Bill, in line with the large number of MPs who have already done so. I would do as Reading West's MP.”
Following a campaign by Pupaid and celebrity vet Marc Abraham, Parliament has this week been debating an e-petition calling for a ban on puppies and kittens being sold without their mothers present, seeing an end to the UK's puppy farming industry.
Thousands of puppies and kittens are separated from their mothers early every year, many come from puppy farms and are sold online, in pet shops and in garden centres. Pupaid report that puppies often become seriously ill shortly after arriving in their new homes.
Along with the 111,000 signers of Pupaid's e-petition, Victoria is calling on the Government to reform the laws on the origins of puppies to meet the highest animal welfare standards.
The Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Kennel Club, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, and Blue Cross all advise that puppies and kittens should be seen with their mothers.
Victoria said: "Like Harvey the King Charles puppy (pictured), my two dogs were bought from a breeder and we were able to see them with their mothers. Until we get a change in the law animal welfare orgainisations advise that anyone choosing a dog should always consider adopting from a reputable rescue shelter, or should get in touch with the Kennel Club for their assured breeders list. This enables people to see puppies interacting with their mother and helps put puppy farms out of business."
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