Lynne Featherstone MP demands answers on Fairer Funding allocation

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has today called on Labour-run Haringey Council to ensure that the distribution of new funding for education is truly fair.

After a hard fought five year campaign, Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats secured fairer funding for education in Haringey. As a result of this, an extra £7.3 million has been allocated for Haringey’s schools.

The additional funds from the fairer funding settlement have gone a long way to ending the long-standing funding anomaly – which saw local schools receiving outer London funding but paying inner London costs. Haringey Council will shortly be able to allocate the extra money directly to schools in the borough.

The £7.3million in fairer funding money is in addition to the £8.8million allocated to Haringey schools through pupil premium. The pupil premium is a separate amount based on a Liberal Democrat Government policy to give more money to schools in accordance with the number of disadvantaged children.

Katherine Reece, Haringey Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children said:

“It’s fantastic news that Haringey will now finally receive fairer funding for education.

“We now want to ensure that the money will be distributed fairly and proportionally throughout the borough’s primary and secondary schools.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Poverty and disadvantage are present all over the borough. All of Haringey schools already pay Inner London pay scales, so they should all get a share of the money to assist them.

“I have written to the Interim Chief Executive and called on the Labour-run Council to ensure that the money reaches every school in Hornsey and Wood Green, as well as those in Tottenham.”

Local MP supports impressive community project at Alexandra Palace Allotments

With project team at AllotmentTo support an impressive lottery winning project that will make the world of difference to green-fingered allotment users, Lynne Featherstone MP on Friday officially opened Haringey’s first green composting toilet at Alexandra Palace allotments.

The project, funded by a £4,000 lottery grant, came into being thanks to allotment faithfuls Colin Roberts and John Wilkinson, who came up with the idea and secured the funding. Thanks to an impressive team of allotment users who built the disability-friendly facility from scratch, users from all walks of life can now spend more time tending to their plots, without cutting their visits short.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“This is an impressive example of the community coming together to realise a long-held wish. Having to cut your visit to your plot short because of lack of facilities has been the case for many allotment users for years. Now that will all change thanks to the inspiration of Colin, John, Mike and Anne and their team of constructors.

“It’s something so simple, but it took someone with vision and the efforts of many to make it happen. I’m hugely impressed – well done all at Alexandra Palace allotments!”

Alexandra Palace allotments Chairman (also Highgate Lib Dem Councillor) Bob Hare adds:

“I know just how much work it was to dig the large hole over the 3 month period, and then to build the project around the composter unit, but I also know just how much the unit is appreciated by everyone.

“Allotment culture has changed, and many families are spending more time on their plots perhaps eating lunch or supper, which makes having a facility like this a really fantastic benefit.”

Mayoral Candidate and local residents back Lynne in battle for fair funding

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!

London Liberal Democrats led by Brian Paddick on Friday gave their firm backing to Lynne Featherstone MP’s long-running campaign for fair funding for the Borough’s schools.

The mayoral candidate joined the fight for better school funding as the second leg in a consultation to simplify the school funding system came to a close on 11th October. This round of consultation has seen an even stronger backing by residents, with close to 130 local people, teachers and schools making personal submissions to the consultation.

Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, GLA Liberal Democrat member Caroline Pidgeon and GLA candidate Dawn Barnes on Friday jointly backed the campaign during a visit to Haringey.

In addition to fighting for local schools to get fairer funding in a new funding formula, Liberal Democrats are already delivering more funding for local schools, through the pupil premium. It was last week announced that this year, schools will get close to £500 per deprived pupil, an increase on the £430 promised earlier in the year, adding up to an extra £2.2 million for schools in Hornsey and Wood Green. For the Borough, that adds up to a boost of £5.3 million this school year alone.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I’m delighted to have such a strong backing in the battle for fair funding, both from Brian and his team and from local residents who really have come out in force to respond to the consultation. Thank you all.

“I am sure that this strong support will make a world of difference and hopefully tip the balance in favour of our children.

“But local schools are already reaping the benefits of Liberal Democrats in government, by getting an extra £5.3 million to support deprived pupils this year alone. I’m proud to see us delivering for local schools already and I look forward to hearing the outcome of this consultation in the next few months.”

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate, Brian Paddick, adds:

“I was appalled to hear of the long-standing unfairness in the way Haringey schools have been funded over the years.

“But it’s great to see the new government taking strong action to simplify the school funding system and looking specifically at the case of Haringey. I am 100 per cent behind Lynne in her long-running battle for this injustice to end. Give Haringey’s children fair funding now!”

From Pride with Pride

Just back from the Pride march – what an amazing event – what a wonderful day! 

There is something so empowering, so overwhelming – about marching, expressing – having a demonstrative voice. So much of the time there appears a passivity – as if nothing can be done, nothing can change. But from the Stonewall riots 40 years to today’s Pride march in the London sunshine – every gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans individual that has had the courage to stand up against  prejudice and fight discrimination – has shown the courage and determination that can change and has changed the world.

I spent the first half of the march at the front with Boris Johnson and Nick Herbert – the policing Minister. Then I walked back through the march to find the Liberal Democrat contingent. They had produced fabulous placards for all of us which said ‘Liberal Democrats – Proud to represent you in Haringey, or Hackney or Richmond or Government or London.

And in the LibDem contingent were lots and lots of LibDems from various boroughs – and then there was Brian Paddick (stood for LibDem mayor of London); Caroline Pidgeon (Leader of the LibDem group on the London Assembly); Ros Scott, (LibDem President); Sarah Ludford (LibDem MEP for London). Ed Fordham (LibDem candidate for Hampstead & Highgate); Ed Butcher, (Councillor in Haringey) and many, many, many more – including Steve Gilbert (MP for St Austell  & Newquay).

Then towards 3pm I had to make my way to the stage area in Trafalgar Square where Nick Herbert and I were going to give short speeches.  Dr Christian from ’embarassing bodies’ introduced us.

We had decided to go on together – as a double act – so to speak. Nick spoke first and told of his selection and election – and how the selection committee, when he told them he was gay, had said no probs! Nick got a huge cheer when he opened by saying that he was gay. I couldn’t match that – but nevertheless – also got a good reception when I spoke about ending the ridiculous situation where a man who had consensual sex with another male (over 16) 30 years ago would still have that come up on a criminal record check. It goes. And how it wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair that LGB&T people still felt too frightened to report hate crime – three out of four hate crimes still go unreported and what we are going to do to put in the support to encourage reporting. And how it wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair that children, six out of ten children, experience homophobic bullying at school and how we are going to support teachers in tackling this terrible experience which can scar a child for life.

It was a really beautiful day – and I have come home filled with Pride.

PS Huge thanks to the organisers – fantastically well done!

Featherstone and Schmitz candidates in most important ever election in Haringey

“It’s a privilege and a joy to serve this community”. Those were the words of thanks from sitting MP Lynne Featherstone, who was formally adopted this week as the Liberal Democrats’ candidate for the Hornsey & Wood Green constituency.

Sarah Ludford MEP and Brian Paddick, former Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor, were guest speakers at the packed event in Hornsey Bowling Club, which also adopted local campaigner David Schmitz as the party’s candidate for Tottenham.

The elections in Haringey are predicted to be a very close contest between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with local Tories out of the race. Ms Featherstone is defending a 2,395 vote majority over Labour, and elections for Haringey Council are on a knife edge between the two parties. The Conservatives have no elected councillors and finished a poor third in both the Parliamentary seats last time.

Ms Ludford described Lynne as, “a local treasure for Haringey and a national treasure for the party,” reminding the audience that she had been labelled a ‘Saint’ by the Daily Telegraph for her exemplary record over election expenses.

Brian Paddick, a former senior Met Police officer, welcomed the party’s policies to boost policing in Haringey, with plans for more out-of-hours police cover. Welcoming the adoption of David Schmitz as candidate for Tottenham, Mr Paddick stressed the need for a second Lib Dem MP in the borough.

Commenting after the meeting, Lynne Featherstone said:

“I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the last five years, and I am looking forward to the campaign. I will continue to fight for local people and for services in Hornsey and Wood Green, working for local residents, fighting for fair funding for our schools and putting a stop to threats to our local health services. And in David Schmitz, Tottenham can also have a Parliamentary champion who will fight hard for residents.”


We had our formal process of ‘adoption’ this week – when LibDems gather to nominate and second the proposals for Parliamentary Candidates for both Hornsey & Wood Green and Tottenham.

Sarah Ludford, MEP and Brian Paddick (ex Deputy Commissioner in the Met and our London Mayoral candidate last time out) came and said wonderful things about me (modesty prevents me repeating them here) and about David Schmitz – our candidate in Tottenham.

It was good fun – and David made the wittiest and funniest speech I heard in a long time. Sarah and Brian were obviously very complementary – and I rounded off the evening with a rallying type exhortation to action.

The ‘buzz’ in the room was really good – and everyone is excited at the prospect of the election ahead.

I ran a campaign a couple of years ago – called ‘make mine a double’ with a picture postcard on which I am pointing at two green boxes for recycling. Before my campaign – Labour Haringey would only ‘allow’ one per household. Obviously we succeeded – and now we can all have two or more!

But the point of mentioning this now is that with both a General Election and Council elections on May 6 – we’re all aiming to make the elections a double too – by winning both! Make mine a double!

What will Boris Johnson be like as Mayor of London?

No prizes for guessing what my first newspaper column after the London elections is about…

This weekend eight years ago I was elected to the London Assembly – and Ken became London’s first Mayor. It was so exciting – a blank page on which to write the capital’s future. And now it’s Boris! Unbelievable…

What will Boris Johnson do to London? I have to ‘fess up immediately – I was upset by Boris even throwing his hat in the ring – let alone winning. To me he was not someone who had ever shown the slightest interest in London and its key issues prior to this opportunity knocking on his door.

Mind you – Ken had become arrogant from his years in office and really failed to tackle the issues of the sleaze and corruption allegations swirling around his advisers. Two of them had to quit in the end – but we are still left with a whole host of questions over what money went where and why, and Ken never looked like he was really interested in sorting out matters. The cheeky chappy of yesteryear had worn out our good will and we were clearly desperate for change. But will that change be for the better?

To continue reading the piece, visit my website.

The London results

I woke up this morning hoping that Boris winning was just a bad dream – but sadly – it really happened. His acceptance speech though was very gracious – I would advise keeping that speechwriter standing just behind him at all times! Much as I have enjoyed Boris on TV shows I didn’t want him as Mayor of London. Didn’t want Ken either. However, the people have spoken and now the opportunity belongs to Boris and I hope desperately that he doesn’t bugger up all the good things that have happened in London since the GLA was created and that he does seek to re-unite this city.

Anyway – my poor Brian got hideously squeezed – and the knock on for my Assembly colleagues was a loss of two seats on the Assembly. As for the revolting result of a BNP member being elected despite a good turn out – that turns my stomach. Don’t know how colleagues will manage to deal with that every day!

We should get the ward results and therefore constituency results in due course – and I expect that in Hornsey & Wood Green the Lib Dem vote held up very well as overall Monica Whyte, our Enfield and Haringey candidate, polled more votes than last time and on percentage vote share changes had the best relative Liberal Democrat performance in London too (I think).

It was a huge surprise (seemingly to her as well) that Joanne McCartney held the Enfield and Haringey London Assembly seat for Labour. The Tories thought it was in the bag – but it wasn’t. Shades of the 2004 election where again Labour pulled off a surprise victory in the seat despite very high Conservative confidence that they would take it.

And together with the gain of the Tory seat of Brent and Harrow – the Labour Assembly members did not do as badly as expected on a night when Labour nationally had disastrous results in the local elections and when Ken lost. A bit of a silver lining for them there.

So – off we go – finding our way around a changed political map of London with a Mayor who may garner affection – but can he run London? We will see.

The morning after the night before: the moment when it looked like Paxman might punch Johnson

So – Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman grilled the three main candidates for Mayor last night. Personally – I thought Jeremy won hands down. Boris was appalling – and Paxman nailed him on his waffle approach by asking him for a figure for something he was proposing re-replacing bendy buses. Boris was baffled. Boris was bamboozled. But Boris didn’t answer the question. Boris was exposed as not knowing a thing really about bus costs.

At one point I nearly thought Jeremy Paxman was going to punch him – as he strode menacingly towards Boris repeating his question as Boris refused to answer!

Ken was somewhat downbeat – but competent. And Brian, despite a slightly nervous start in his statement, went on to make good substantive points about how to really tackle gun and knife crime – not just talk about it like Boris or say you can’t do anything about it like Ken.

Brian attacked Boris over his lack of experience of delivery and management. When asked about second preference votes – Ken said without hesitation that he would prefer Brian to Boris – but Brian said basically a plague on both their houses and that they were both bad in different ways. So true Brian – so true!

UPDATE: Here’s the Paxman/Johnson face-off from YouTube:

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice