Reading East and Reading West Conservatives have jointly published their manifesto for the Reading Borough Council elections to be held on Thursday May 4th.
From our parks to our buses, from our bins to our roads, local councillors look after the things that truly matter in our day-to-day lives.
During the current cost-of-living crisis local Conservatives know - more than ever - that councils also have a duty to manage your money wisely and to deliver efficient, cost-effective services. If elected, that's what our candidates intend to do to make a real and lasting difference for the better for our community.
Which is why they will be asking for the support of the people of Reading on May 4th. To earn that trust, our candidates will be campaigning on all the key issues facing our town.
A Conservative RBC administration would:
- Freeze Reading’s Council Tax – Reading’s Labour administration annually seeks the maximum council tax increase possible while avoiding a local referendum on the issue. We would freeze our council tax rates, finding the revenue elsewhere in the council budget, without moving millions of pounds of surpluses into the council’s reserves as RBC did this year.
- Fix potholes as a priority – Despite the Labour leadership claiming progress on road repairs, our town’s roads remain riddled by heavy potholes, broken verges and dangerous pavements. We would prioritise and expand RBC’s road improvements programmes, ensuring Reading gets its fair share of the Government’s Potholes Fund.
- Ensure cycle lanes work – Reading’s cycle lanes aren’t working. We support active travel that helps the environment, but too many of Reading’s cycle lanes remain unconnected, under-used and frustratingly scattered. We would create a safe, integrated and coherent cycle network across our town.
- Oppose unsustainable development – Reading’s green and open spaces need protection. Our town needs more homes, but the construction of new housing should be sustainable and only built in suitable locations with community support, not imposed on our precious green spaces in the teeth of widespread resident opposition, such as the 200+ houses that RBC’s Labour administration have allowed to be built on the former site of Reading Golf Club.
- Create more affordable homes with shared ownership – Houses allow families to put down long-term roots in a way that flats don’t. We already have a great number of expensive flats being built in the town centre. More sustainable, affordable family homes are also needed with shared ownership options to create settled communities. Labour’s affordable homes targets remain unambitious.
- Protect the environment – we would build on RBC’s current Climate Emergency Strategy and work closely with the Reading Climate Change Partnership to ensure Reading continues to play its part in the transition to a net zero future as effectively and swiftly as possible – not least through the continuing reduction of RBC’s own carbon footprint, higher net zero standards for new homes and ongoing reduction of CO2 levels caused by our town’s endemic traffic congestion.
- Ensure safer and cleaner communities – All of our candidates are committed to working closely with Thames Valley Police and Reading’s Safer Neighbourhood Forums to ensure effective action is taken to tackle anti-social behaviour, graffiti, speeding and knife crime to keep our streets safe and clean.
- Scrap garden waste bin charges – Reading’s Green Waste Bins and Garden Bags currently cost £50 and £15 respectively for delivery and then £67.20 and £24 annually for collection as well. No-one should have to pay that much to help improve the environment. We would scrap the green bin and bag charges.
- Introduce kerbside glass recycling collection – Neighbouring councils such as West Berkshire have provided kerbside collection of glass for recycling from residents’ homes for years. Reading Borough Council should too. Our existing glass recycling collections bins are often full to overflowing, surrounded by broken glass and other fly-tipped rubbish, and are difficult for disabled people to use, especially those with assistance dogs who could be injured by glass shards.
- Campaign to save Reading Gaol – Our historically significant Reading Gaol is at the very heart of our town and heritage. Reading Conservatives strongly support the campaign to preserve its legacy by turning it into a nationally renowned landmark arts and cultural hub. We will push Labour-run RBC to succeed in its ongoing negotiations with the Ministry of Justice.
- Promote Reading’s case for a Third Bridge – To ease Reading’s central traffic congestion and increase public transport links north of the River Thames, we would work closely with our neighbouring councils to make the case for a third bridge crossing, an argument that is decades old but which remains pressing.
Cllr Clarence Mitchell, the Leader of the Conservative Group on Reading Borough Council said: “Across our wonderful town, the Conservative Party is once again fielding a full slate of 17 candidates offering every voter the choice of electing strong Conservative candidates in each of the council's 16 wards and one for the additional casual vacancy in Park Ward.
“Our candidates come from all walks of life and fully reflect Reading's vibrant BAME communities. Indeed, our slate this year is, once again, one of our most diverse and inclusive on record. All our candidates are putting the best interests of Reading at the heart of everything they say and do. All of them are absolutely committed to making Reading an even better place to live.
For far too long, the Labour administration has been failing Reading, while taking its residents for granted by still expecting them to pay the highest council tax rates in the Berkshire area. Voting Conservative means we can deliver the better deal and positive change for our town that every resident deserves. So we are delighted to be able to offer the people of Reading that choice by fielding our strongest, most diverse and inclusive slate of Conservative candidates yet.”
You can find them all here listed by ward: