This morning I was privileged to be invited to the launch of the British Gurkhas Ex-Serviceman Assocation campaign for justice held at the Wycliffe Church in East Reading.
I have been involved with Reading Gurkhas through my colleague Tilehurst Lib Dem Cllr Peter Beard who helped set up the Forgotten British Gurkha charity.
Although Gurkhas were granted indefinite leave to remain following the campaign led by Joanna Lumley and supported by Nick Clegg they currently do not have full British citizenship and associated rights i.e. pension rights.
We heard at the meeting that on a visit to Reading David Cameron pledged to act but that since then he has done nothing.
I was asked to say a few words at the meeting and I promised to take up the matter with Nick Harvey MP, Lib Dem Armed Services Minister and Nick Clegg MP.
The Association launched a nationwide petition today that I have signed. The launch was attended by former Conservative councillor Tom Steele and Cllr Rob White, leader of the Green Party.
I did not see any local Labour councillors at the meeting although Cllr Bet Tickner (Lead Councillor, Communities) was invited by the organisers.
Perhaps it was not one of her 'favourite' community groups.
This is a pity as the Nepalese community in Reading, comprising many ex-servicemen and their families is large and growing.
In recognition of this the Coalition administration of Reading Borough Council awarded grant funding to the Nepalese Community as part of the Council's grants to the voluntary sector. The first of it's kind.
I have requested that the issue of how we respond to the needs of migrant communities is added to the Council['s Internal Scrutiny Commission's list of issues to investigate.