Conservative MP for Reading East Rob Wilson (photo credits: Social Enterprise UK).
Rob Wilson has been the MP for Reading East for the last 12 years and is standing for election again in 10 days time. During his time in parliament Rob Wilson has been responsible for handing money raised from VAT on tampons to an anti-abortion charity, and as ministerial aide to the health secretary he was instrumental in bringing through changes to the NHS which have lead to the privatisation of Priory Avenue Surgery, in Reading East.
The following is a summary of the votes made in parliament by Rob Wilson, and some of his most notable controversies.
Rob Wilson voted to trigger article 50, even though the people of Reading voted to remain. He also voted against amendments to protect the rights of European Citizens living in Reading.
NHS and Health
Rob Wilson voted to allow private companies to provide NHS Services through the Health & Social Care Bill.
The Health and Social Care Act was a top down reorganisation of the NHS introduced by the Coalition Government after David Cameron had promised there would be no reorganisation of the NHS during the election campaign.
Since the Health and Social Care Act came into legislation in 2013 billions of pounds of NHS Services have been handed over to profit making companies, stretching limited NHS budgets.
1000 council and housing association tenants in Reading were impacted by the Bedroom Tax including disabled people and foster parents.
Rob Wilson voted to introduce the benefit cap which restricts a family with children to only £20,000 per year, and a single adult to £13,500. Due to higher than average rents, this policy hits Reading residents harder than other areas of the country, leaving benefits claimants in Reading with less than £600 per month to pay for bills, food and essentials.
Rob Wilson voted to reduce the Employment Support Allowance for disabled people in Reading by £29 a week. Disabled people in Reading now receive only £315 per month to live on if they are declared as not fit for work.
These cuts to welfare have been declared to be in breach of international human rights laws, so it’s no surprise that the government are planning to repeal the human rights act.
Education and Schools
Rob Wilson voted for an increase in the cost of university education. There are 17,000 students in Reading, and the area has one of the highest costs of living with students being expected to budget for £180 per week on top of £9000 per year tuition fees. In addition to this Rob Wilson voted to allow student loan interest to be charged at market rates. Student loan interest is now at over 6%, costing the average student around £10,000 in interest, and over £60,000 in total.
Rob Wilson voted to remove the Education Maintenance Allowance which supported children of low income families remaining in education. In Berkshire over 6000 pupils were receiving the EMA.
Rob Wilson voted for the academy schools system. Due to the new school funding formula, the Conservative government has left one school in Caversham begging parents for funding.
Due to cuts in schools funding, many of Reading’s schools are now in deficit and the district as a whole is due to lose the funding for 240 teachers, or over £500 per student.
You can find out how your school is affected here. Rob Wilson stated that “the issue over schools is not about cuts in funding”.
Local Council Funding
Rob Wilson voted to reduce Reading Borough Council’s funding. This has put pressure on the council to reduce the budget by £42 million, or £150 per resident and resulted in the closure of leisure facilities, a charge for green bins, an increased charge for residents parking and cuts to children’s social care and various other budgets.
In summary, Rob Wilson has consistently followed the Tory party line when voting in Parliament, even when that has led to damaging consequences for the people of Reading East.
One of the results of cuts to welfare payments has been a rise in homelessness in Reading, by 700%. When asked how the Conservative Government would tackle homelessness, shortly after his election win in 2015, Rob Wilson responded to a constituent, telling her not to be a “bad loser”.
Rob Wilson has also been in the news for claiming expenses for travelling walkable distances by car. Including 9p of expenses for a journey from his own home to a constituent on the same street.
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