Berkshire

Reading racial equality charity hopes for cuts reversal

The chair of a race equality council in Berkshire has warned that important work to tackle extremism could suffer if its core funding is not reinstated.

Reading Borough Council cut its £90,000 a year grant to the Reading Council for Racial Equality (RCRE) as it tries to save £18.8m this financial year.

Chair Dr Ejaz Elahi said he was "hopeful" that the newly elected council might reconsider the decision.

Labour is now the biggest party at the council, after the local elections.

'Some hope'

Reading Borough Council had been led by a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition - but with no overall majority it is not yet clear who will run the council.

Dr Elahi said: "I think, because the complexion of the council has changed, we do not know what will happen but we have some hope.

"We have some money saved up and we are living on our savings at the moment but I do not think they will last very long.

"If we do not get our core funding it will leave a very big gap and we will have to think about redundancies. Our work in [fighting] discrimination, bigotry and extremism will suffer."

Labour councillor Pete Ruheman, who sits on the borough's ethnic minorities forum, said: "Decisions are going on as to who will run the council for the coming year.

"If Labour is able to form an administration there is a commitment to support the RCRE."

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