Another leap forward for Lynne’s fight for fair funding

Lynne Featherstone MP on Seven Sisters Road. Schools in Hackney on the right hand side get £1540 per pupil more than schools in Haringey, on the left hand sideLocal residents have this week joined MP Lynne Featherstone and local Liberal Democrats in a defining moment in the four year battle for fair funding for Haringey’s schools, by jointly sending in a strong response to the government’s school funding consultation.
 
At least fifty local people united behind Lynne to help send a clear message to the government that they should take the opportunity to end the injustice of Haringey’s schoolchildren receiving up to £1540 less than pupils in neighbouring boroughs.
 
The consultation, that ended this week, was the first of a two part consultation into school funding. This first leg sought views on creating a fairer school formula which campaigners say needs to consider the fact that Haringey pays inner-London costs but the current system only gives the borough’s schools outer-London funding – now £1540 less per pupil. 
 
The second part of the consultation is expected to take place later on this year and look into the finer details of the funding system.
 
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
 
“It’s amazing to see how residents here in Hornsey and Wood Green can be united to help fight for such an important cause as fair funding for our children’s schools. Together we have made a really strong case for correcting the historical injustice that sees out children being short-changed by up to £1540 each, and finally get funding equality with pupils in neighbouring boroughs.
 
“For thirteen years, Labour underfunded Haringey’s schools, and ignored plea after plea for justice. It’s great to see Lib Dems in government taking decisive action for fairer school funding.”
 
Cllr Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat Children’s Spokesperson, adds:
 
“This could be another giant leap forward in our four-year campaign for fair funding. I’m glad that so many residents have taken the time and effort to get involved – without them this would not have happened.
 
“This was the first of a two leg consultation, and we all look forward to mobilising the parents of Haringey to make an equally strong case in the next leg, likely to be launched in the summer.”

Lynne Featherstone and local Liberal Democrats launch campaign on better access to GPs

Lynne Featherstone and Katherine Reece surveying a local resident in Stroud Green about her access to GPsHaringey Liberal Democrats have just launched a campaign to make sure residents living near the Borough boundary can access GPs in neighbouring boroughs.
 
The action comes after residents in Stroud Green have complained of not being allowed to register with GPs surgeries just over the border in Islington.
 
Last Friday, Lynne Featherstone MP, Stroud Green Cllr Katherine Reece and Health Spokesperson Cllr David Winskill launched a GP survey to hear from residents in Stroud Green about their access to GPs. The health campaign is also looking at access to NHS dentists and gathering residents’ opinions on the standard of local health services.
 
Local councillors Katherine Reece and Richard Wilson have already met with NHS Haringey who acknowledge that registering with a GP can be a serious problem for residents in Stroud Green.
 
Nationally the Liberal Democrats in government are pushing to give patients the right to choose to register with the GP they want, without being restricted by where they live.
 
Lynne Featherstone MP comments:
 
“It’s ridiculous that residents on the north side of Stroud Green Road cannot always use GPs on the south side of the road due to bureaucratic wrangling.
 
“We are surveying residents in Stroud Green to find out just how bad the situation is, and will be bringing the results to health bosses.”
 
Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece adds:
 
“It’s great that Liberal Democrats in Government are working on changing the rules about where you can register for your GP. We want to do our bit here in Stroud Green.
 
“However Islington PCT is refusing to recognise there is a problem with cross-border GP access.  We hope this survey of local residents will change their minds and force them to work with GPs to widen access.”

Liberal Democrats launch campaign to stop cuts to older people's services

Lynne Featherstone MP speaking to concerned luncheon club users at Abyssinia Court last FridayTo help fight for older people’s services, threatened with closure by Haringey Council, local Liberal Democrats have today (Monday 24th) launched a campaign against the cuts.

The campaign follows visits last week to luncheon clubs and care homes in Haringey by leading Liberal Democrats.  Lynne Featherstone MP and Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece on Friday 21st January listened to concerned luncheon club users at Abyssinia Court, one of the services threatened with closure. The Weston Park club-users are fighting to save their treasured service, which puts on activities like exercise classes, bingo and outings in the local area.

Cllr David Schmitz (Harringay ward) also visited users of Willoughby Road day centre in January 2011.

The Labour Council announced in December 2010 that the Haven and Grange Day Centres, Abyssinia Court, Willoughby Road, Woodside House and Irish Centre Drop-in centres as well as Jackson’s Lane Luncheon club would be cut to save £425,000, representing just 0.2% of the £182 million in central government funding the Council will receive next year.

To help to put pressure on the Labour Council to halt the closures, Liberal Democrats have today launched a petition. Local residents can back the campaign by going to the following site:

http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/saveolderpeoplesservices

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I understand that the Council need to make tough decisions following reductions in government funding, which takes Haringey’s share back to the 2007 grant level.

“But that does not mean it needs to make such drastic cuts to frontline services like luncheon clubs. Having spoken to many older people this weekend, I know how precious and treasured these services are.

“The Council needs to take a good hard look at its own backroom spending before cutting life lines like the Abyssinia luncheon club.”

Stroud Green Councillor Katherine Reece adds:

“For many elderly Stroud Green residents, the Abyssinia court luncheon club is a true lifesaver. It’s a place where they can meet other local residents, keep fit and have fun. For many of the club-users I spoke to on my visit, it’s the one time of the day when they get out of the house.

“Surely taking away this life-line, which gives amazing value for money, is madness, and risks having big knock-on effects to the local NHS. This is just not joined-up thinking.

“Please sign our petition and help support our campaign to halt these plans now!”

Local Liberal Democrats visit Haringey’s first food recycling cafe

Local Lib Dems at Foodcycle Cafe in Stroud GreenTo get a first taste of Stroud Green’s most recent green community initiative, local Liberal Democrats on Friday visited the newly opened FoodCycle cafe on Ferme Park Road.

The cafe has set up shop in the empty ‘Mind building’ in the heart of Stroud Green, and aims to reduce local food poverty, by cooking healthy cheap lunches, using surplus food from local supermarkets.

Liberal Democrat councillors in Stroud Green and Crouch End have helped get the scheme off the ground by supporting their grant application and spreading the word to local residents.

The cafe, located by the junction Ferme Park Road/Stapleton Hall Road, serves lunch each Friday 12.30-2.30pm. Following a short Christmas break, they will again open their doors to the public on the 7th January.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“FoodCycle is such a fantastic community initiative, with local volunteers helping to cook healthy, cheap lunch, using vegetables and produce which would otherwise have ended up on the landfill.

“It’s an amazing scheme, with seriously yummy food.  I would encourage anyone up for a healthy green meal to come along.”

Crouch End Cllr David Winskill adds:

“By using this free kitchen space, and getting free food from local shops, this amazing team of local foodies can really help work towards reducing food poverty and enabling people to get involved and develop skills.

“And they are setting a fantastic example for other people who want to be green and serve their community. I’m really proud to have been able to help them get off the ground, and I look forward to seeing many similar projects in Haringey in the future.”

Watch the video interview with our Stroud Green team

My LibDem colleagues standing for Stroud Green ward – Cllr Ed Butcher, Cllr Richard Wilson and Katherine Reece who is the candidate replacing Cllr Laura Edge – were interviewed by stroudgreen.org. The discussion in the video ranges over their reasons for standings, their priorities for Haringey, their favourite things about Stroud Green, final thoughts and how to get in touch. Congratulations to stroudgreen.org for this – bringing politics to the people!