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Socialist Renewal - fifth series: 3


"A wonderful analysis cutting to the chase through all the spin, quangos and obfustication by New Labour and its acolytes."


Mike Hogarth's letter to  the Reading Chronicle  


9th June 2006  




Answers to questions put by Colin Lee on public use of the John Madejski Academy School Leisure Centre will not be forthcoming from Reading Borough Council because the truth is likely to be so unpalatable to Reading residents that they would never support the loss of a taxpayer-funded leisure centre to a private Academy School.  Reading councillors are simply doing what New Labour forces them to do which is to have at least one academy school in every town or lose the money on offer from the Treasury.  


In his booklet, New Labour’s Attack on Public Services, (Spokesman Books, Nottingham), Dexter Whitfield writes, “The academic claim ‘to bring new life into the local community’ is fraudulent because they are caught in a VAT trap.  The Treasury waived VAT on the construction costs under European VAT regulations, but this is conditional on 90% of the usage being for ‘relevant charitable purposes’.  Thus academics must limit after school use to less than an hour per day and not at all during school holidays or face a VAT bill for 17.5% of the capital cost of the school.  Martin Coles, head of the City of London Academy in Bermondsey, South London, stated: ‘We have this £27 million building and the public can’t get in.  It’s a joke.’ (Quoted from The Times 3rd October 2005).”  Will the John Madejski Academy School have a different VAT rule applicable to it?  


I am sure many more questions need to be asked about the plans for public use of the South Reading Leisure Centre and access to future Academy School facilities, but will they ever be answer truthfully for the voters to hear and decide where to put their cross next May?


Yours etc.,  


Mike Hogarth






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