MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Over 50 residents made their views heard to representatives from both Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey. The concerns raised included a lack of urgent repairs, failure to provide decent homes work and poor customer service.
Having seen the anger and upset among the residents, Homes for Haringey promised to take action and complete the urgent repairs.
Along with local campaigners Roberto Robles, Colin Heinink and Vik Seeborun – Lynne Featherstone MP has long been campaigning for a better deal for residents on the Noel Park estate. They have called on the Labour-run Council to include the Noel Park estate in the Decent Homes programme – and for Homes for Haringey to spend money on repairs, rather than bonuses.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“I am glad that, finally, residents have had the chance to raise their concerns directly with the Council and Homes for Haringey.
“Listening to the residents and hearing about the awful conditions they live in, it is obvious that the Labour-run Council have let them and the whole estate down badly. This is a scandal, no-one should have to live like this.
“Homes for Haringey promised at the meeting to make the urgent repairs. I will be keeping a close eye on them, and publishing whether they keep their word or not.”
Noel Park campaigner Roberto Robles said:
“It was shocking and deeply saddening to hear what some of the local residents have to live with on a day to day basis.
“And their local Labour councillor, who is responsible for housing in the borough, didn’t even bother to show up to the meeting.
“Noel Park deserves better. Colin Heinink, Vik Seeborun and I will carry on fighting for residents, to secure the urgent repairs that are so desperately needed.”
Noel Park estate resident Carol Cabey said:
“Residents on the Noel Park estate need urgent repairs, but the Council and Homes for Haringey have not taken action.
“It’s not fair for the Council to spend so much money on other places, and waste money on botched repairs, when the Noel Park estate is in such desperate need.
“I’m glad Lynne called the meeting and gave us a chance to have our voices heard. I just hope the Council and Homes for Haringey were listening.”
Here’s my latest Ham and High column – also available on Lib Dem Voice.
There are so many perks of living in Haringey – vibrant high streets, good transport links, wonderful parks and views – to name but a few!
But on the downside, our bin collections, roads and other public services are notoriously bad. Haringey Council – which is run by Labour – has been rated the worst in London.
Week in, week out, Haringey Labour seem to lurch from one crisis to another. They failed to meet their own targets for making our local roads safe, and allowed £3.7 million to be spent on bonuses which could have been spent on repairs to local homes.
This just isn’t fair on local residents or the hard working officials and frontline workers at the Council. We all deserve a Council that is run efficiently, and directed to spend taxpayers money on the things that matter most.
Despite the poor services, under the previous Labour Government the average Council Tax bill in Haringey increased by a whopping £474. Year on year, Council Tax for Haringey residents increased way above the rate of inflation.
Constantly rising Council Tax did not help individuals and families with the cost of living – particularly after the recession began.
The Liberal Democrats, however, are taking steps to help with the cost of living. Addressing spiralling Council Tax bills is one of these steps.
Since the Liberal Democrats entered Government in 2010 – Council Tax for Haringey residents has been frozen. This is due to successful local Liberal Democrat campaigning, and the Government giving extra cash to any Council if they do not increase Council Tax.
This protects residents from the kind of arbitrary tax rises we saw under Labour. A typical Band D Council Tax bill in Haringey will be £229.63 less from April 2014 than if Labour’s increases carried on as before.
The Liberal Democrats in Government have also secured a £700 tax cut for all workers.
In April, the personal tax allowance (the amount of your salary you can keep before being taxed) will rise to £10,000.
This means that almost 90,000 residents will get to keep an extra £700 of their pay-packet this year. This is a flagship Lib Dem policy – it was on the front of our 2010 manifesto and it has been delivered in Government. We’re now campaigning to make it an £800 tax cut.
This is real Lib Dem action to bring the cost of living down for local residents. The Tories alone would not have done this. In 2010, David Cameron said ‘we couldn’t afford it.’ Labour had 13 years in Government to bring in policies like this – and they failed to do so.
There is still so much work to do. The economic crisis has taken its toll on many in Haringey, and we are only just beginning to see signs of recovery.
But these measures, Council Tax freezes and the £700 tax cut for all workers are designed to help with the cost of living, and they wouldn’t be happening without the Lib Dems in Government.
The Hornsey Depot application – which would see a Sainburys and over 400 new homes built on Hornsey High Street – has been deferred. This decision was made despite Labour-run Haringey Council’s planning officers saying planning permission should be granted.
At the meeting in Wood Green, Lib Dem Cllr Monica Whyte argued that the developers needed to make changes to the planned development on Hornsey High Street to address local residents’ concerns.
Local Lib Dem councillors and Lynne Featherstone MP had already formally lodged objections to the plans before the meeting – which included concerns about the quality and management of flats in the neighbouring New River site, which were built by the same developer.
Other issues raised by residents and politicians include:
As a result of the Liberal Democrat and local resident concerns, the Committee deferred the decision and requested that the developers come back with revised plans taking into account residents’ views.
Monica Whyte, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Hornsey, comments:
“I welcome the decision to defer the application for the development of the Hornsey Depot site. We want the site developed but the concerns of residents must be taken into account. The developers need to revise their plans and do more to address the concerns of local residents.
“We want to see the right development on Hornsey High Street, which brings benefits to the local community. The plans put forward last night were just not good enough.”
Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:
“This is good news for local residents. I hope the delay will mean that the developers take heed and listen to the concerns that the Haringey Lib Dems and residents have raised, and revise their plans accordingly.
“The problems at the New River Village, which I am still campaigning on, can’t be ignored. The developer must also show that lessons have been learnt from that before any further changes are made to our community.”
Lynne Featherstone MP and Cllr Richard Wilson last week met with Haringey Council and Homes for Haringey to request that vital repairs are made to the Noel Park estate in Wood Green.
Last year, Labour-run Haringey Council announced that no ‘Decent Homes’ repair work would be made to the entire Noel Park Estate – despite previous promises to complete the work, and despite receiving an extra £25million grant from the Coalition Government.
This prompted outrage from residents, local MP Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats – who have since been robustly campaigning for the Decent Homes work (which includes fitting new kitchens, bathrooms and other repairs) to take place as scheduled.
At the meeting, the Council representatives committed to make urgent repairs to properties if necessary, and to consult with residents of the estate about the more extensive Decent Homes work.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“Many homes on the Noel Park estate are in urgent need of repair and modernisation, and residents have been promised just that for years. Noel Park should be a priority, but instead the Labour-run Council is turning their backs on residents.
“It’s Haringey Council’s job to provide tenants with a decent standard of living – and the Government has given the Council extra money to do so.
“It’s no wonder residents are so outraged by the cancellation of the work – particularly following revelations that the Labour-run Council allowed £3.7million to be dished out on bonuses for repairs staff!
“The Council have committed to make urgent repairs and consult residents – which is a step in the right direction but not good enough. The local Noel Park Lib Dem team and I will keep campaigning for full repairs for residents on the Noel Park estate.”
Sign the petition for money to be spend on homes, rather than on bonuses for failure, here.
Along with a volunteer from the Haringey Winter Shelter, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green participated in a discussion with a group of year 11 students about how to raise awareness of homelessness.
The group also discussed the help available to young people affected by homelessness.
The Coalition Government has invested over £470 million to tackle homelessness, with the bulk of this being spent on homeless prevention funding.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“I was very glad to see young students tackling the subject of homelessness. The issue should be on the agenda – not pushed to one side and forgotten.
“There are so many wonderful charities and soup kitchens helping homeless people on a daily basis. And the Government is helping, too, with £470 million of funding being used to try and prevent homelessness.
“£3.5 million has been used to extend the ‘No Second Night Out’ programme beyond the London pilot to eight new areas – and only two out of 683 people being helped by the scheme in Merseyside have returned to the streets since February 2012.”
The above inflation increase for Haringey was announced by NHS England in December, after the funding formula used to allocate money was reviewed. The new formula ‘will more accurately reflect population changes and include a specific deprivation measure.’
The announcement follows a campaign for fairer health funding by Lynne Featherstone MP, the Haringey Liberal Democrats and local residents.
During the campaign, the Liberal Democrat MP contacted both the Department of Health and NHS England, demanding a fairer deal for Haringey health services – which have been historically underfunded.
Alongside welcoming the increase, the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green has vowed to continue the campaign to secure further funding for local services.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“Haringey health services have been underfunded for decades, unfairly receiving less money per person than neighbouring boroughs.
“I am so pleased that the Government has changed the funding formula, giving Haringey health services a much needed funding boost. Thank you to all the local residents who got involved in the campaign for more funding, and helped add pressure for change.
“We don’t yet have truly fair funding, though, and I will continue to push for even more money for our local services.”
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!
Lynne Featherstone MP and the Haringey Lib Dems have welcomed a revised funding formula for local schools.
The Hornsey and Wood Green MP reacted angrily and demanded a rethink last year, when Labour-run Haringey Council produced a funding formula which left a number of schools with less money, despite the council receiving £millions more funding from Government.
The local MP publicly criticised the Labour administration and asked the Department for Education to intervene. Under the new formula, all schools in the borough will receive a rise in funding next year.
Haringey Borough received an extra £13million to give to schools this year, thanks to the Pupil Premium policy introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government. An additional £7.3 million will also be received following the Liberal Democrat MP’s successful campaign for fairer education funding.
The new funding formula is due to be approved at the Haringey Council cabinet meeting next week.
Haringey Lib Dem spokesperson for children, Cllr Katherine Reece, said:
“I am pleased to see that Liberal Democrat campaigns are having a real effect on the ground, and that Haringey’s children are to benefit from the success of these campaigns.
“After so many years of losing out, Haringey schools are close to having truly fair funding.”
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“The Lib Dems, both locally and nationally, have worked hard to secure over £20 million in extra funding for our schools – so it is quite right for every school in the borough to get a boost.
“I was absolutely livid last year when Labour-run Haringey Council put together a botched formula which projected a loss of money for some local schools.
“Thankfully, the revised formula, which is more in line with national standards, has produced a much better result.”
The drive to help young people get jobs in Haringey will be boosted by plans to abolish employers’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for under 21 year olds.
Local Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone has welcomed the announcement, which means businesses will no longer have to pay tax on their employees aged under 21 year old. For example, companies will save £1,000 each year for every young employee earning £16,000.
In Haringey, the plan to abolish NICs for young people from April 2015 means companies will not have to pay the contributions for 4,220 young people.
Lynne Featherstone MP commented:
“The Liberal Democrats are focused on getting young people into work and this is exactly the kind of initiative needed to give businesses a break and encourage them to start recruiting.
“Since 2010 we have already helped create more than 1.5m new apprenticeships. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract is supporting work experience, wage incentives and apprenticeships.
“Our economy is growing because of the hard work of people and businesses, they deserve this help. The coalition’s economic plan is the rock on which our recovery is being built – and it is happening because of the Liberal Democrats.”
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will now have the power to cap the cost of payday loans. The Banking Reform Bill will also create a duty on the FCA to cap the fees and charges imposed by payday loan companies.
The Liberal Democrats are also keen to promote credit unions as an affordable alternative to payday lenders and as an ethical investment to people who are looking to save. Credit unions offer:
The Coalition Government has recently invested £38m to support and expand credit unions.
Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr Richard Wilson and local Lib Dem MP Lynne Featherstone, who are both members of the local credit union, have urged local residents to add their support.
Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, comments:
“I welcome this announcement. The Liberal Democrats in Government have worked hard to secure tougher action on pay day lenders. Now we have given the new financial regulator, the FCA, power to cap the cost of payday loans. Through the Banking Reform Bill, we are also creating a duty on the FCA to cap the fees and charges imposed by payday loan companies.
“We are also continuing our support for credit unions, which offer lower interest loans and ethical investment opportunities. It is fantastic to have a credit union operating in Haringey, and I am happy to help promote them.”
Cllr Richard Wilson, Lib Dem Leader of the opposition and Credit Union member, comments:
“I am delighted by this announcement. Capping the cost of pay day loans will help lots of people who would otherwise be hit with massive bills for pay day loans.
“I would still encourage people to join the credit union though as they provide much lower cost loans and an ethical investment.”