MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Great news – the economy is growing at the fastest rate we’ve seen since 2007 – according to the Office of National Statistics.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also increased its growth forecast for the UK economy from 1.9% to 2.4%.
The UK has also seen a sharp drop in unemployment, and there are now more people in work than ever before. All good signs that the economy is recovering.
And we’re really leading the way in Hornsey and Wood Green. There are now over 1100 fewer people claiming Job Seekers Allowance than there were in 2010.
Youth unemployment here is now 3.8% – almost halved since 2010.
And finally, the number of registered enterprises in Hornsey and Wood Green is on the up, from 4,855 in 2011 to 5,450 now.
The plan is working – and so are we!
Here’s my latest Muswell Flyer article – on the changes I want to see in our borough this year. Also available here.
The Christmas festivities are over and I hope everyone had a great time welcoming in the New Year. Alongside my usual resolutions, there is something specific I want to see in 2014.
This year, I want to see a change in how our local services are run and how our council tax money is spent. And with a local election taking place in May – change is a real possibility!
Our borough has so much potential – it is a truly vibrant and diverse area. But, like many Haringey residents who contact me, I am fed up of paying one of the highest rates of Council Tax in London and receiving a poor service in return.
Last year, Haringey Council (which is currently run by Labour) failed to deliver on many key local services.
On housing, the Council allowed £3.7 million to be spent on bonuses for housing staff while cancelling vital and long-overdue repair works for local homes. I receive so many complaints from local residents in social housing about the lack of repairs – and I just cannot believe that millions have been spent on bonuses for failure.
Our local streets are also not up to scratch. A survey I ran last year on rubbish collections turned up over 400 complaints about missed collections, bins in the wrong place, and piles of rotting rubbish.
Another survey revealed hundreds of complaints about potholes and lighting, too – despite the Council promising a ‘pothole blitz’ earlier in the year.
And also – the Labour-run Council is still refusing Lib Dem calls for an independent review into Children’s Services, despite further shocking failures to protect some of the borough’s most vulnerable children.
This is a small summary of the problems we have in Haringey. Labour has had 40 years in charge of Haringey Council, and I think it’s about time that changed.
In contrast to Labour, the local Lib Dems are constantly campaigning for improved local services. They’ve been instrumental in saving our parcel collection points and local train services, alongside pushing the Council into action on numerous issues – forcing them to consult on 20mph roads and to build new homes to ease the housing crisis, for instance.
The local Lib Dems are also committed to continuing the fight against development on Pinkham Way, and to improving the state of our streets. We’ve fought hard for independent shops by campaigning for thirty minutes free parking, and free parking over the entire Christmas period. And, the Lib Dems are committed to supporting our local Credit Union as an alternative to payday loan shops.
For me, the choice is easy. What we need is a Council that listens to residents and works for them. I will be campaigning hard to help the Lib Dems take control of the Council so that we can see real, positive changes to Haringey in 2014. Now, that really would be a happy new year!
Here’s my latest Ham and High column, following a great year of working with local residents to protect our services
2013 was a year of people power in Haringey – with thousands of local residents and Liberal Democrats joining forces to protect local services.
At the beginning of the year, the proposed sell off of land at the Whittington Hospital was successfully halted, following a campaign by over 4,500 local residents and the Haringey Liberal Democrats.
Later in the year thousands of Lib Dem petition signers also prevented Royal Mail’s planned closure of Hornsey Sorting Office, and also stopped the threatened loss of local rail services at Hornsey and Harringay stations.
Local High Street traders also made their voices heard, calling for lower High Street parking charges. The Haringey Lib Dems and I backed them, by running a campaign for thirty minutes free parking and holding the Independent Shops Competition to give our best local stores some much deserved publicity.
The North London Waste Authority also finally backtracked on their idea to build a waste plant on the Pinkham Way site, thanks to a great campaign effort by the Pinkham Way Alliance, local residents and the Lib Dems. The NLWA still own the land, though – so we remain vigilant.
Last year was also great for jobs and apprenticeships – with more and more Haringey residents finding work. Since 2010, unemployment is at its lowest level in my constituency (over 1000 less JSA claimants), and youth unemployment has fallen by a third.
The apprenticeship event I ran this year was very popular and successful. I was so impressed with the ambition and drive of the young people who attended – and so were the employers. One Haringey young person was snapped up by an employer just a day after the event!
Looking forward to next year, I hope for more hard work and successes for the Lib Dems and people power. And one date in particular springs to mind – May 22nd, the next round of local elections.
Last year, Haringey Council (which is currently run by Labour) failed to deliver on many key local services. Our roads are in a state, two thirds of residents are dissatisfied with their rubbish collections, and Childrens Services has been tarnished with more child protection scandals.
And at the same time, the Labour-run Council continues to waste money. £3.7 million in shockingly large bonuses were dished out to repairs staff – while essential repair work to local homes was cancelled. It’s no wonder Haringey Council is the fourth most complained about in the country.
That’s why I want to see a change in how our local services are run and how our Council Tax money is spent.
And after this great year of local delivery and working with residents, I hope it’s the Haringey Liberal Democrats that take control of Haringey Council, so they can work with residents to fix Haringey for good.
Now, that really would be a happy new year!
During the consultation, the local Liberal Democrats and the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green surveyed over 2000 residents, to ascertain residents’ views on the proposals.
Based on the results of the survey, the local MP and Liberal Democrats backed a borough wide 20mph zone – but only on residential roads and, where appropriate, town centres. They also recommended that the scheme should be enforced by signs, rather than speed humps.
The Liberal Democrat MP and local Lib Dem group have campaigned for residents to have their say on the introduction of a borough wide 20mph limit since 2010.
The launch of the consultation represents a u-turn by the Labour-run Council, who previously refused to consult on a 20mph limit – rejecting the proposal outright in October 2012.
Cllr Jim Jenks, Haringey Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson, said:
“We have been campaigning for a borough wide 20mph zone since 2010. Our survey clearly shows the majority of local people back that policy.
“Having previously rejected the idea, I hope the Labour-run council will finally listen to us and to residents and implement a borough wide 20mph zone on residential roads.”
Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“The Haringey Lib Dems and I campaigned for so long to get a consultation – and it’s great that residents have now had the chance to have their say.
“Over 2000 people responded to our survey, and we have passed these on to the Council and stated our support for the majority view.
“Thank you to everyone who took part. I will be keeping residents informed, particularly when the Council makes the final decision on a 20mph speed limit in our borough.”
The survey asks residents for their views on local and national issues, and whether they have any problems they would like the local MP’s assistance with.
In addition, the survey offers residents the chance to sign the Liberal Democrat petition to protect our local health services.
Last year, the survey drew several thousand responses. Hundreds of issues raised by residents were followed up on by the MP and her casework team.
Residents can also fill in this year’s survey online (see below)
Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:
“The annual survey is a great way for residents to have their voices heard on matters ranging from national Lib Dem policy to our local Lib Dem campaigns.
“We all know that the Labour-run Council are not very good at keeping our roads and pavements safe, or keeping our area tidy. That’s why we ask residents whether they have any issues with litter, damaged pavements or potholes on their road.
“All completed surveys are looked at and we will attempt to resolve any issues raised. I hope as many residents as possible take the opportunity to fill it in!”
NB Surveys are broken down by wards. check which ward you live in here: http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/ and click on the relevant link here:
Wood Green (Noel Park & Woodside) Residents: http://bit.ly/WoodGreenAnnualSurvey
Hornsey Residents: http://bit.ly/HOannualsurvey
Stroud Green Residents: http://bit.ly/SGAnnualsurvey
Highgate Residents: http://bit.ly/HGannualsurvey
Fortis Green Residents: http://bit.ly/FGwardannualsurvey
Muswell Hill Residents: http://bit.ly/MHannualsurvey
Crouch End Residents: http://bit.ly/CEannualsurvey
Bounds Green Residents: http://bit.ly/BGannualsurvey
Alexandra Residents: http://bit.ly/LFannualsurvey
Stonewall Housing provide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with housing advice and support, either in their own homes or in supported housing. They also lobby for LGBT housing rights.
The Liberal Democrat MP met with the Chief Executive, a staff member and some of the residents to discuss the issues affecting both the LGBT community and charities.
After the visit, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“It was great to visit the house and hear about Stonewall Housing’s work. They provide an invaluable service to vulnerable LGBT people in my constituency and across the city.
“They would like to do more. It was great to hear about their aims and ambitions to expand their support network, for instance to vulnerable LGBT asylum seekers.
“Charities are having a tough time at the moment, but I am confident Stonewall Housing will get through it and come out stronger. I wish them all the best for the future.”
Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone today welcomed Royal Mail’s decision to continue to allow Highgate residents to pick up their parcels for free at the Archway Road Post Office, in response to months of campaigning by the local Liberal Democrats.
The Royal Mail representatives, who met with the MP this morning, also confirmed that the Hornsey sorting office has been reprieved. Whilst Royal Mail still plans to relocate the sorting office, residents will be able to pick up their undelivered parcels for at least 6 months, and in the meantime an alternative location in N8 for a collection point will be sought.
Royal Mail had planned to close Hornsey sorting office, stop the free collection service at Archway Road, and move the undelivered parcel collection points to Holloway and Tufnell Park. The move would have forced local residents to travel miles to collect their undelivered parcels, if they didn’t wish to leave parcels with a neighbour, or pay to have them redelivered.
Over 3000 people signed the Liberal Democrat petitions to save services in Hornsey, Highgate and Harringay Green Lanes.
The news has been very well received by the Hornsey and Wood Green MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats, who have been fiercely campaigning to keep free, local collection points since Royal Mail announced their reorganisation in September last year.
Highgate Liberal Democrat Councillor Rachel Allison said:
“I am so pleased that Royal Mail has seen sense, and is retaining the free collection point at Archway Road Post Office.
“Over 500 Highgate residents signed the petition and I’m glad that their views have been listened to by Royal Mail.”
Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr Richard Wilson said:
“I am delighted that the threat to close Hornsey Sorting Office next month has been withdrawn, and that Royal Mail will now look for a new local collection point in Hornsey.
“We will carry on campaigning to secure a collection point around the Finsbury Park and Green Lanes area after the office there closed on the 28th January.”
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“From day one, we were adamant that no service should be lost without an equal or better local replacement.
“The news today is very encouraging. We have taken a huge step towards saving vital local services – and it’s all thanks to the residents who took part in our campaign and signed the Lib Dem petition.
“The combination of Lib Dems and people power has once again had a positive effect in Haringey, and we will continue to fight on!”
Currently, residents can collect undelivered parcels at local office and collection points in Hornsey, Highgate and at the Arena on Green Lanes. As part of their reorganisation, however, Royal Mail plans to close these offices and move the collection points to Holloway and Tufnell Park.
The move will force local residents to travel miles to collect their undelivered parcels if they don’t wish to leave parcels with a neighbour, or pay to have them redelivered.
Following a massive campaign effort by the local Liberal Democrats, the petitions to save the under threat services in Hornsey, Highgate and at the Arena in Tottenham have already been signed by nearly three thousand people.
In total, 25,293 addresses will be affected by the changes Royal Mail wants to make.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader, comments:
“Nobody should have to travel so far just to pick up an undelivered parcel. Going all the way to Tufnell Park or Holloway will be inconvenient for most people and will be particularly difficult for the elderly and people with mobility problems.
“The Royal Mail must listen to demands from residents for a local collection service for undelivered parcels. If you haven’t already signed the petition please show your support for our campaign and sign the petition.”
Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone comments:
“I am delighted that so many local people have given their support to our campaign to keep local parcel services. I have arranged a further meeting with Royal Mail to present the petition to them. The more signatures we have, the more chance there is of changing their minds.
“Please sign the petition – and encourage your friends and family to do the same – so we can show Royal Mail the strength of feeling on this issue.”
The Haringey Liberal Democrats and Lynne Featherstone MP last week launched a petition for 30 minutes of free parking on Haringey’s High Streets. The petition has already been signed by 399 people with another 105 people liking the campaign on Facebook.
The campaign has also attracted the support of traders in Muswell Hill who recently gathered a petition with over 5,000 signatures, calling for lower parking charges.
The campaign for 30 minutes of free parking was sparked by the Labour-run Council’s decision to double parking charges in Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Green Lanes from £1.40 to £3 per hour.
So far the Council has refused to bow to pressure from traders, residents and Haringey Lib Dems on the issue.
The Lib Dems believe that 30 minutes of free parking would boost trade on local high streets and support the independent shops that make Haringey’s high streets unique.
Lynne Featherstone MP and Haringey Lib Dems are calling on local shoppers to add their support to the campaign and sign the petition here.
Jim Jenks, Muswell Hill councillor and Lib Dem spokesperson on parking comments:
“The council must do more to support local businesses. Independent traders are struggling and 30 minutes of free parking would encourage more people to shop on our high streets and boost local trade.”
“I encourage anyone who lives in Haringey or shops locally to sign our petition and put pressure on the council to introduce 30 minutes of free parking on high streets.”
Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green comments:
“I’m delighted that our petition has already got the support of hundreds of people!
“Haringey Lib Dems and I will continue to campaign to get the Labour Council to make the change and introduce 30 minutes of free parking.
“It will benefit local residents and help to keep small independent shops on our local high streets.”
Peter Drummond, local resident and President of the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC), comments:
“I support the campaign to lower parking charges on high streets. In my view, it is absolutely critical that high streets are not put under even greater pressure, and that local councils do not simply see parking charges as a revenue earner. If they do, retailers will fail, rents and rates will reduce and in the long run the council will be worse off.”
Last year, retailers on Muswell Hill Broadway reported months of poor trade after the parking charges were increased from £1.40 to £3 per hour.
The traders started a petition to lower the charges – which attracted over 5,200 signatures – and presented it to Haringey Council. Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone also wrote to the Labour-run Council and requested that the charges be lowered. Despite this, the Council refused to reduce the charges.
Lynne Featherstone MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats are now calling for 30 minutes of free parking on Haringey’s High Streets, to encourage people to stop and ‘drop in’ to the Borough’s independent shops, and boost their trade.
Jim Jenks, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Muswell Hill said:
“Haringey retailers need our support. But the Haringey Labour Council has, as usual, a ‘one size fits all’ approach with high parking charges throughout the Borough. We need local parking solutions that help get more people into our shops.
“We need as many people as possible to support our campaign, so we’re encouraging our supporters and residents to sign our petition and let their friends and families know about it, too.”
Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green commented:
“In my constituency, the high streets in places like Muswell Hill and Crouch End are packed with independent retailers. It sets us apart from other places which are full of bland chain stores.
“I’m afraid this refusal to listen to trader’s concerns is typical of the Labour-run Council – more interested in making a quick buck on parking fees than preserving our community assets.
“I urge anyone who wants to support independent shops – and would like to enjoy 30 minutes free parking – to sign our petition.”
Sign the petition here.