Lynne Featherstone MP discusses comm-unity with local Turkish women

Lynne Featherstone MP speaks with local Turkish women in Wood GreenOn Saturday Lynne Featherstone visited over 50 local Turkish women, to speak about recent international events – such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks – and the effect these events have had on local communities.

The visit forms part of Lynne Featherstone’s campaign to encourage unity, and search for solutions to both extremism and intolerance in Haringey and beyond.

The local MP listened to the women, some of whom have faced threats and even violence following the actions of extremists in other countries. They then discussed possible ways to prevent radicalisation, to protect vulnerable communities, and also to prevent division in response to extremist actions.

Turhan Ozen, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Tottenham, was also present at the event, and joined in the discussion.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Following the recent actions of extremists in other countries, some local women have had letters through their own doors telling them to ‘go home’ – and worse.

“This is not fair – these women have done nothing wrong – yet some now feel afraid. I have taken on board many of the points they raised, about how politicians and Government can better protect vulnerable communities.

“Now more than ever, it’s important that we unite as a community. We have such a proud tradition of this in Haringey – of embracing diversity and uniting against both extremism and intolerance.

“While other parties are trying to capitalise on the politics of fear, the Lib Dems believe that unity and tolerance is the only way to stand up to extremism – and I am working hard to get this message out both locally and nationally.”

85% of survey respondents think Haringey Labour’s immigration leaflet is ‘unacceptable’

Labour's disgraceful anti immigration leaflet - delivered in Hornsey and Wood GreenLynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has called on Haringey Labour to stop delivering their inflammatory and controversial leaflet, which outlines the Labour Party’s ‘tough new approach to immigration.’

The leaflet, which has been widely criticised by local residents and commentators on social media, was delivered only to areas of the borough with relatively more diverse populations – Bounds Green, Wood Green, and parts of Tottenham.

The Liberal Democrat MP’s call has been backed by residents in Hornsey and Wood Green. A survey last week, which received over 400 responses, revealed that 85% of local residents also believe that Labour’s leaflet is unacceptable.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, commented:

“Here in Haringey, we have a proud tradition of uniting against extremism and the politics of fear. But instead of upholding this – Labour are pandering to UKIP and creating division. It’s no surprise that the vast majority of people here think this leaflet is unacceptable.

“To top it off – Labour have specifically targeted this leaflet towards more diverse areas like Tottenham, Bounds Green and Wood Green. Other parts of Haringey – like Crouch End and Muswell Hill – have not been informed about Labour’s new, regressive immigration policies.

“I hope the local Labour Party will respond to the calls from local residents, and not distribute divisive literature like this again in any part of our borough.”

Three local schools win awards for work with disadvantaged pupils

Lynne Featherstone MP with Hornsey School for Girls studentsAlexandra Park School, Highgate Wood Secondary School, and Hornsey School for Girls have been recognised as going the extra mile to help disadvantaged students.

The schools have received a £5,000 award for the work they have done to boost the achievements of pupils from less privileged backgrounds, by putting the Pupil Premium to effective use.

The Pupil Premium is £2.5bn of extra money that is targeted towards helping disadvantaged students in school. It is a key Liberal Democrat policy, now delivered in Government.

All three schools are now eligible to apply for a prize of up to £250,000 – the winner of which will be announced by Nick Clegg in March.

Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“It is great that three schools in Hornsey and Wood Green have received this award for excellent use of the Pupil Premium funding. I have visited all three of these schools over the past few years and have seen this good work for myself.

“The Pupil Premium funding helps make sure that everyone has the best chance to get on in life. That’s why the Lib Dems fought so hard to implement the policy, and why we’re rewarding those schools that have put it to best use.”

Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:

“Alexandra Park, Highgate Wood, and Hornsey Girls can rightly be proud of their work to improve the life chances of children in Haringey.

“I would encourage all of the secondary schools which have received a prize to share their successful approach with other schools so they can learn from their experience.”

Earlham Primary secures funding to improve buildings

Lynne Featherstone MP and Earlham Head Teacher Oweda Harrison, outside Earlham Primary, Wood GreenLiberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws MP has today announced government money to rebuild Earlham Primary School in Wood Green.

The news has been welcomed by local MP Lynne Featherstone, who visited Earlham Primary last week and called for the school to be included in the Government programme.

The money will come from the Priority Schools Building Programme, a £2bn government scheme spearheaded by the Liberal Democrats, to rebuild those schools across the country suffering most from wear and tear.

Schools included in the programme are now able to start developing detailed plans, and are expected to be completed in 2017.

Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws MP said:

“I am delighted to announce money that will allow Earlham Primary to make badly needed improvements to their building.

“Lynne Featherstone MP made a very clear case as to why Earlham needs this money, and I look forward to seeing the improvements.”

MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, said:

“This announcement is fantastic news for families and teachers in Wood Green.

“Earlham Primary badly needs to upgrade its classrooms and other facilities.  This money fought for and delivered by Liberal Democrats in government will make a real difference.

“Making sure all children in Wood Green get a fair start in life should always be a top priority, and I can’t wait to see Earlham’s plans develop.”

Local MP calls for Schools Buildings Money for Earlham Primary

Lynne Featherstone MP and Headteacher Oweda Harrision at Earlham Primary SchoolLocal Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone has called on the Schools’ Minister to deliver money to rebuild Earlham Primary School in Wood Green.

The MP for Hornsey and Wood Green visited the primary school today, and was given a tour by Head teacher Oweda Harrison. Many of the buildings and classrooms are in need of repair.

Hundreds of schools across the country are seeking money from the Government’s Priority Schools Buildings Programme – to refurbish and rebuild old buildings.

Schools’ Minister David Laws, also a Liberal Democrat, is set to announce the successful schools in the £2bn programme before the end of the month.

Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“Earlham Primary is a fantastic local school, but it does urgently need money to improve its buildings. I have already contacted the Schools’ Minister to ask that Earlham is included in the Priority School Building Programme.

“In a truly fair society, all children should have equal access to decent school facilities.  I have made this case to government ministers and will continue to do so.”

Unemployment Drops in Haringey

Here’s my latest Muswell Flyer article – also available here. Since I wrote this article, unemployment has dropped even further to 2.6% – halved since 2010!

Having a job is so important – it gives us a purpose and means we can provide for ourselves and our families. And for Government – helping people into work should always be a priority.

Before 2010, in the midst of the recession, unemployment rose and young people found it difficult to start their careers.

But things are looking up – unemployment in our constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green has now dropped to just 3%. That’s down from 5.2% in 2010.

Haringey’s young people are leading the way – youth unemployment here has halved since 2010. That’s a real testament to the ability and ambition of the bright young people in Haringey.

In August, I held my annual apprenticeship event at the Civic Centre. Just like last year, over 100 young people came through the doors, looking to kick start their career. I was so impressed with the way they approached the organisations at the event, securing interviews and places on courses.

These were organisations such as Barclays, the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and the National Apprenticeship Service.

One person who came to the event secured an interview at a local restaurant, six people signed up for a stewarding course at Tottenham Hotspurs, and local organisation 5e enrolled 15 people on their ‘skills boost’ programme.

25 of the people who attended expressed an interest in a community cadet course with the London Fire Brigade, and 14 signed up to attend an open day at North London Garages.

Apprenticeships are a great way to learn a trade and gain contacts in an industry. Like jobs, they are becoming more and more popular, and more available to young people.

And the growth in the number of available jobs and apprenticeships hasn’t just happened by accident.

When the Lib Dems entered Government in 2010, getting people into work and increasing the number of apprenticeships was a priority. Since then, my Lib Dem colleagues in Government have worked with businesses to help create a million more jobs and over 1.8million apprenticeships.

The story is the same across the UK – not just in Haringey (though – we are lowering our unemployment at a faster rate than many other areas!)

Employment figures released in October show that 30.76 million people in the UK are now in work, the highest level on record.

The number of people unemployed has fallen below 2 million for the first time since 2008, while youth unemployment has seen the largest annual fall since records began.

It’s really no surprise, with nearly 1.3 million more people working full time since 2010!

There is still plenty more work to be done to build the economy and create opportunity for everyone. But over the coming months and years I hope to see the situation improving even more.

Campaigners welcome Muswell Hill Police Counter news

Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Borough Commander Victor OlisaAfter a long search, a new police front counter is due to open next week in Muswell Hill inside the Planet Organic shop on Muswell Hill Road.

Local Liberal Democrat councillors and Lynne Featherstone MP have been campaigning for a replacement counter since 2013, when the previous police counter service in Muswell Hill closed as part of the Mayor’s crime plan for London.

The new police counter will be open on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 6pm and 8pm and on Saturdays between 1pm and 3pm.

The Liberal Democrats have welcomed the opening of the new police counter.

Martin Newton, Lib Dem Councillor for Fortis Green and Crime spokesperson, comments:

“It was awful when the previous counter closed in 2013, under the Conservative Mayor of London’s policing plans. Residents lost a vital local service.

“I am delighted that residents will once again have a local contact point where they can meet with local police and trained volunteers. It is great that people will be able to report crimes, get crime prevention advice and hand in or collect lost property.”

Lynne Featherstone, local Lib Dem MP, comments:

“The Conservative Mayor of London promised that no counters would close without proper replacement services. ­So it was an absolute outrage when we lost the service in Muswell Hill. That’s why local Lib Dems councillors, residents and I campaigned for a replacement to be provided.

“We didn’t give up – we worked with the police and local businesses to find a suitable place – and I am very pleased that we’re finally getting a new police counter in Muswell Hill.

“Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign. Local Lib Dems and people power can make a difference!”

Lynne Featherstone MP visits Henrietta Barnett School

Lynne Featherstone MP with students from Henrietta Barnet SchoolLynne Featherstone MP last week visited Henrietta Barnett School in Hampstead, to speak to the current affairs society.

The Liberal Democrat MP spoke about her ministerial work over the last four years – including tackling FGM and securing equal marriage law.

The local MP also spoke about her work in and around her constituency, and her new campaign to encourage unity and community cohesion in the face of extremism.

The students then asked a number of questions – including many about women’s rights and life as an MP.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It was great to speak to the students, particularly about the consequences of the recent terror attacks in Paris and elsewhere. We spoke about the worrying and divisive use of language in this country following the attacks, and how unity – rather than division – really is the best way to respond to extremism.

“Many of them rightly raised questions about womens’ rights, and increasing female representation in parliament. While the situation for women has improved – and campaigns to end FGM and forced marriage have really taken off – there is still so much work to be done in this area.

“I really enjoyed the open discussion – the students were so bright and really understood the issues of the day – I wish them all the best for the future!”

While others seek division, we're searching for solutions to extremism and the politics of fear

Here’s my latest Ham and High column – also available here

It seems like every time we watch the news, we hear about another conflict or incident. And the awful terrorist attacks in Paris were so close to home.

The whole world felt the impact of the horror that unfolded at the Charlie Hebdo office.

But here in Haringey we have a proud history of uniting against violence, hate, and extremism.

Less than two years ago, the community response to the terrible attacks on the Somali Bravenese Centre was overwhelming. We all came together in a show of solidarity – and helped them to rebuild.

Unity is the best way to respond to the atrocities committed by terrorists, and extremism. It’s so important that we don’t allow the politics of fear and hate to creep in.

To be blunt, those seeking to create division are parties like Ukip, who would use the actions of terrorists to create fear and animosity towards certain communities.

I’m proud that my party, the Liberal Democrats, have stood up to Ukip from day one. Our beliefs and values really are the polar opposite of theirs!

But I know it’s not enough to just say these things – politicians, communities, everyone needs to take real action, and search for the right solutions.

That’s why I’m arranging even more local visits to community groups and religious groups, to discuss how they feel about the current situation; ask what they think can be done to stop further attacks, and how to prevent division in the aftermath.

There are going to be difficult moments, and tough conversations. But it’s what needs to happen for us to find an effective, long-term solution to tackling extremism.

This is the harder path. But it will ensure that the voices of all those in our community are heard – that our youth understand the value of engagement over argument.

This is a conversation that needs to be ongoing. We need to build forums and platforms that allow for a continuing discussion in our community about these difficult issues.

I want to hear as many views as possible – if you have thoughts you’d like to share, please contact me. This is a conversation we all need to be part of.

What Labour are up to in Hornsey and Wood Green…

It’s very rare for me to post about Labour literature that’s delivered in my constituency – firstly because it so rarely happens, secondly because I am a Lib Dem!

But here goes. Over the last few weeks, some Haringey residents have received a Labour leaflet on their doorstep. In it, Labour have outlined their ‘tough new approach to immigration.’

 Labour's disgraceful anti immigration leaflet - delivered in Hornsey and Wood Green

So apparently, under a Labour government – people who come to the UK will be treated as second class citizens. Labour will stop people who come here from claiming any benefits for two years. It doesn’t matter if they are a refugee fleeing violence, or someone who has been made redundant through no fault of their own, Labour will seemingly abandon them and let them fall into poverty.

Bizarrely, Labour then turn their fire on nurses and care staff, implying there is a major problem with their language skills – this is despite proof that the NHS and care system would collapse without migrant workers.

Shockingly, Labour have only put this leaflet out in areas where immigration is higher – Bounds Green, Noel Park, Wood Green and Tottenham. They have decided not to tell voters in the far West of Haringey what they really think.  Disgraceful.

Here in Haringey, we have a proud tradition of uniting against extremism and the politics of fear. I have always been so proud to represent such a diverse area – there are about 200 languages spoken in my Hornsey and Wood Green constituency. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But instead of upholding this tradition – Labour are pandering to UKIP and creating division. Even neighbouring Labour MP David Lammy has slammed the approach taken by Labour in Hornsey and Wood Green.

Just like one local resident said on twitter: “Immigrants are welcome in Haringey & this leaflet isn’t.” I couldn’t agree more!