Discussing charity projects with local supermarket

Lynne Featherstone MP with Sainsburys staffLynne Featherstone MP last week visited the Sainsbury’s store in Muswell Hill to discuss and encourage their local community projects.

The Liberal Democrat MP talked to employees at the store who help to promote Age UK’s Advice for Carers guide during Carer’s Week 2014. The booklet offers a wide range of information to those who may be caring for a friend or loved one, ranging from practical tips, to telephone numbers to call for further help.

The local MP also spoke to the Store Manager about the local store’s work with a variety of charities. Sainsbury’s work with a number of charities nationwide; and the Muswell Hill branch also work to support local charities, such as Action for Kids, for whom they hold regular bag-packing and charity collection days.

As well as this, all food which has passed its shelf life (but not its sell by date) is passed to the Soup Kitchen in Muswell Hill, and the store has a no food waste to landfill policy.

After the visit, Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“It was encouraging to discuss the current projects that Sainsbury’s are involved in. It is community based work, which is so important for the area and local people. They are setting a great example and it is great to the see the work they are doing to highlight the Advice for Carers guide.

“I look forward to visiting some of the projects they are working on and attending their fundraising events.”

Lib Dems celebrate police front counter breaking news

Lynne Featherstone MP and Councillor Gail Engert keep their fingers crossed for the new police front counter at Muswell Hill Odeon to be openedThe local Liberal Democrat campaign for a new police front counter in Muswell Hill is on the brink of success. At a Police panel meeting yesterday evening, police representatives revealed that plans to put a front counter in the Odeon complex in Muswell Hill are now in their final stages.

Lynne Featherstone MP and the Haringey Liberal Democrats have campaigned for a replacement front counter since Conservative Mayor of London closed Muswell Hill Police Counter last year. The closure was forced through despite vehement criticism of the plans, from both local Liberal Democrats and residents.

That’s why, together with residents, local MP Lynne Featherstone and Lib Dem councillors presented petitions, met with top local cops and pushed so hard for the replacement.

Like the previous front counter, the new one will be manned by volunteers.

Muswell Hill Councillor and Haringey Lib Dem Deputy Leader Gail Engert commented:

“I am so pleased that we will soon have a replacement police front counter in the Muswell Hill area. It was a travesty to lose the previous one last year, which was relied upon and used by so many local residents.

“I’d like to thank Odeon and the local police for their hard work in facilitating a new counter – and look forward to seeing it open!”

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

“We all hope never to have to report a crime – but it’s reassuring to know that a local police contact point is there, if you needed it. That’s what we’ve been fighting to get back.

“This fantastic news about the replacement counter in Muswell Hill comes after some relentless and ongoing campaigning. Yet again, it is the Lib Dems in Haringey working on the ground with residents to protect and stand up for our local services – with great results.”

£800 tax cut for 45,090 people in Hornsey and Wood Green

An £800 income tax cut for people in Hornsey and Wood Green is the real budget boost, Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone said today.

The budget revealed plans to increase the personal allowance from April 2015 and put an extra £100 back in taxpayers’ pockets.

Lib Dems have already delivered on a £700 tax cut for low to middle earners, but today’s news goes even further for hardworking people.

The number of people who could benefit from a cut to the personal allowance in Hornsey and Wood Green is expected to be around 45,090

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

“This tax cut is the real budget boost for working people and would not have happened without Lib Dems in Government creating a stronger economy and a fairer society. This was on the front page of our manifesto!

“The Tories are desperate to claim credit, but in reality their focus is on changes such as an inheritance tax cut for millionaires which we blocked, while Labour simply cannot be trusted with the economy.

“We are also helping people with a freeze on fuel duty and new tax-free childcare to help parents.”

Changes to the 263 Bus – have your say

Lynne with approaching W7 busTfL are planning to extend the 263 route which currently runs between Chambers Road and Barnet Hospital. I am aware that many constituents use this service, which stops at Highgate, Muswell Hill, and Fortis Green on its way to Barnet.

The plan is to extend the route along Holloway Road, stopping at Highbury and Islington station and terminating at Highbury Barn. This will mean a more frequent service along Holloway Road, but three current stops will no longer be used.

TfL are consulting on this to establish how local people feel this will affect them, and so please do let them know what you think. The consultation closes on 11th April – more details and the survey can be found at https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/buses/bus-route-263.

Joining the CrossSafe campaign for road safety

Lynne Featherstone MP discusses the safety issues at the Junction with local CrossSafeN10 campaignersLynne Featherstone MP last week met with CrossSafe N10 campaigners to discuss the problems with the junction on Alexandra Park Road, Colney Hatch Lane, and Pages Lane.

The residents have long been campaigning for better safety on and around the junction.

On the site visit, the residents described the problems faced on a daily basis – including drivers not realising that there is a second red light and driving through, pedestrians not being able to see oncoming traffic, poor phasing of traffic lights, and no ‘green man’ signalling to guide pedestrians.

Campaigners say that these problems pose a safety risk – and that they have seen many near misses.

The Liberal Democrat MP – who has previously made representations on this issue – has now written again to both Transport for London and Haringey Council (who share management of the junction) and requested a site visit with them and the local residents.

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“These residents have done a fantastic job of raising awareness of this issue and campaigning for better road safety at this dangerous junction.

“I am happy to get involved to support their cause. I have now written again to both TfL and Haringey Council, demanding a meeting with them on site so they can see the problems for themselves.

“I hope this will lead to action – vast improvements on this junction may well be necessary to prevent a serious accident here in the future.”

Lib Dems hand in free high street parking petition

Last week Haringey Liberal Democrats submitted their petition calling for 30 minutes of free parking on local high streets. The petition has been signed by 1,750 people and will be officially received by Haringey Council at the Budget meeting on Wednesday 26th February.

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.

At the budget meeting on Wednesday the Liberal Democrat councillors will be putting forward a budget amendment to implement 30 minutes of free parking on local high streets. The proposal would be funded by cutting the council’s huge agency staff bill and by ending the automatic refilling of vacant posts, ensuring only those posts that are needed are filled.

The campaign by Haringey Lib Dems for 30 minutes of free parking attracted the support of traders in Muswell Hill who 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.

Cara Jenkinson, Lib Dem candidate for Muswell Hill and lead petitioner, comments:

“Haringey Labour’s high parking charges encourage people to drive further to out-of-town supermarkets where the parking is free. We want people to be able to stop, park and shop locally.

“Local people clearly want to see the Labour council take some action on parking. We had 1,700 people support the Lib Dem petition for 30 minutes free parking on local high streets. I hope councillors on all sides consider that when they vote on the Lib Dem budget amendment proposing free parking on local high streets.”

Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:

“Local shopkeepers have told me that they are suffering because of these ridiculously high charges. 30 minutes of free parking is vital to keep small independent shops on our local high streets – and it would benefit residents too.

“Labour may say there’s no money available – but as the Lib Dem budget amendment shows – Labour-run Haringey Council could easily afford 30 minutes of free parking on local high streets by cutting the agency staff bill and not automatically filling jobs when people leave.”

Support for our wonderful high streets

I have always loved living in Haringey – an area that has such an abundance of independent shops and small businesses. As the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green constituency, I am proud to represent such an entrepreneurial and vibrant area.

It’s the traders themselves and customers that make the high streets – but in these tough economic times, the Government should step in too, to help out small businesses and retailers.

So, I am very pleased that the Coalition Government has made significant changes, such as:

  • Reducing the rates bill of small businesses, shops, and pubs by £1000 for the next two years.
  • Continuing the doubled small business rates relief for another year.
  • Introducing a reoccupation relief, which will halve rates for 18 months when a business takes over a long-term empty shop.
  • Giving local authorities the power to provide additional rate relief for eligible businesses (but not pay day lenders, betting shops or pawnbrokers).

We are also encouraging innovation through the Future High Streets Forum, which will advise the Government on how to continue improving the high street environment.

It is so important that this help is provided – to encourage small businesses, to support retailers, and to keep our high streets diverse and vibrant.

Unfortunately, our local Labour-run Council don’t seem to share this sentiment – they have raised high street parking charges to £3 per hour. Traders say this is harming their businesses and forcing shoppers to go to superstores with cheap or free parking.

The Coalition Government has also launched a consultation about how to address this kind of unnecessary behaviour by local authorities. You can contribute here.

The economy is improving, and 600 new enterprises have opened in our area since 2011. The Lib Dems in Government will keep fighting to ensure that the UK is open for business, and that small businessmen and retailers see the benefits of the economic recovery.

Growing economy – Good news for Haringey!

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!

Call for meeting with Borough Commander following shocking burglary figures

Lynne Featherstone MP discusses crime with local residents outside Hornsey Police stationLynne Featherstone MP has today requested a meeting with Haringey Borough Commander Victor Olisa, following recent news about burglary figures in N10 and N2.

The figures, based on the number of people who have made insurance claims for burglary, place N10 and N2 in the top twenty burglary hotspots by postcode in the UK.

The Liberal Democrat MP and the Haringey Lib Dems have also renewed their call for a replacement Safer Neighbourhood Team base and Police Front Counter in the N10 area. Muswell Hill police station and front counter was closed earlier this year, as part of the Conservative Mayor of London’s changes to policing in the capital.

The N10 and N2 postcodes encompass Muswell Hill, Fortis Green and Alexandra wards within the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency.

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone commented:

“It’s very worrying to see our local area so high in this list of burglary hotspots. I have requested an urgent meeting with the Borough Commander to see what he thinks of these figures, and ask whether his crime statistics match up.

“In the meantime, our call for a replacement police base and front counter in the Muswell Hill area continues.”

Fortis Green Councillor and Haringey Lib Dem crime spokesperson Martin Newton commented:

“We are still waiting for a proper Police Contact Point in the Muswell Hill area following the closure of Muswell Hill police station.  It’s vital that the public have easy access to our hard working and vigilant Safer Neighbourhood Team, if they need to report a crime or raise concerns.

“These figures, if representative of the crime statistics, are a shock to local residents. I am interested to hear the Borough Commander’s opinion on them, and to find out what action he will take now.”

A year of local delivery!

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!