Lynne Featherstone MP stands up for local sorting offices

Harringay Cllr David Schmitz, Haringey Lib Dem Leader Cllr Richard Wilson, Lynne Featherstone MP, and local activist Viv Ross outside Hornsey sorting office on Tottenham Lane, N8.Lynne Featherstone MP and local Liberal Democrat Councillors met with Royal Mail officials today, in response to the organisation’s plans to close and relocate local sorting offices.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood argued strongly against current reorganisation plans, which would make it harder for residents to collect their parcels and registered post. The MP also pushed for local collection points to be retained in the N8 area, and across the borough.

The N6 and N4 area will also be affected, with the services at the current offices in Holloway and at the Harringay Arena being relocated to an industrial estate in Upper Holloway.The plans, which affect 25,293 addresses, include the closure of the Hornsey office on Tottenham Lane. This office, which serves the entire N8 area, will be moved to Holloway. As a result, residents will have to make longer and more expensive journeys to collect their undelivered parcels.

Following the announcement, Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats launched a petition to save the local sorting offices and services. Over 1000 residents have already registered their support for the campaign.

Following the meeting, Haringey Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Wilson said:

“It is unacceptable that Royal Mail expect N8 and N4 residents to travel all the way to Holloway to collect parcels.  Residents are seriously unhappy and over 1,000 have already signed our petitions.

“Royal Mail should listen to its customers and continue to provide and free and convenient local collection points, if it wants people to keep sending parcels through its service.”

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“This issue is incredibly important to local residents. If the current plans go ahead, there will certainly be more losers than winners. It is vital that Royal Mail takes another look at these unfeasible plans.

“The Haringey Liberal Democrats and I are fighting hard to save the sorting offices and keep services truly local. I encourage all residents to sign the petitions, to show royal mail the strength of feeling on this issue.”

You can join the hundreds of people who have already signed the Hornsey sorting office petition by visiting:

Or if you use the Green Lanes delivery office, you can sign this petition:

More time to have your say on the future of Haringey’s rail services

Haringey Liberal Democrats and Lynne Featherstone MP have welcomed news that a Government consultation on the future of local rail services will be extended due to high public interest.

The consultation, asks for views on the future of the “Thameslink” franchise, and will directly affect railway services at Bowes Park, Alexandra Palace, Hornsey, Harringay and Finsbury Park. Due to high public demand, the consultation has now been extended until September 14th.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey & Wood Green, has been leading efforts to ensure that local stations do not miss out on £6 billion of Government money. The investment will be welcome news for London rail users, but there is a danger that some stations in the borough may miss out due to shorter platforms. Lynne has written to thousands of local households informing them of the consultation, and will be meeting with Transport Ministers to discuss the changes.

Lynne comments, “Local people are very concerned that stations like Hornsey and Harringay could miss out on vital investment in future services.”

“I urge all local rail users to respond to our consultation at my website. I will pass on your views to Ministers when I meet with them after the consultation closes.”

Richard Wilson, Leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats comments, “I am delighted that the Government has chosen to extend this consultation. Our campaign to raise awareness of the consultation is clearly working, and I’m glad that the Government has responded to this.”

Comment on the resignation of Haringey Council Chief Executive Kevin Crompton

Commenting on the news that Chief Executive, Kevin Crompton, will leave his position next month Cllr Richard Wilson, Leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats said:

“This Council cannot afford a leadership crisis. Coming weeks after the resignation of the deputy leader it is yet another signal that Haringey Council continues to lurch from crisis to crisis.

“The borough faces severe challenges such having control of some primary schools taken away, continuing problems in Children’s Services, repairing the worst roads in England and rebuilding after the riots last summer. We need strong leadership but at this crucial time all we have is muddle and confusion, which is likely to continue for months.

“It isn’t surprising that our fourth-rate Labour council loses senior staff so frequently – they are always the scapegoats for Labour’s failure.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“Under Labour, Haringey has become the local government equivalent of a ‘failed state’. If we were a country, we’d be on our tenth bail-out by now. After 40 years of political failure, residents are a very low priority for a council that seems intent on re-arranging the deck-chairs, rather than dealing with a sinking ship. Local people deserve change.”

Councillors demand action at accident black spot

 Digital image attached of Cllr Richard Wilson, Cllr Ed Butcher and Lynne Featherstone MP on the pedestrian crossing on Upper Tollington ParkLiberal Democrats have called for urgent action to be taken by the Council to make a road in Stroud Green safer after a spate of accidents. Many local residents are increasingly concerned about the safety of Upper Tollington Park following many reports of near misses and a recent crash near Oakfield Road.

Two years ago local councillors launched a campaign to improve the safety of the road which resulted in the Council saying they would consider funding road safety improvements. Now, Liberal Democrats have said that the Council needs to act to ensure that there are not any serious accidents.

Latest figures from Transport for London show that there have been five accidents involving pedestrians in 36 months.

Cllr Richard Wilson (Stroud Green) comments:

“Since we launched our campaign to improve safety there have been a further five accidents on Upper Tollington Park.  This spate of accidents should be a wake-up call to the Council who need to start listening to residents’ concerns about safety.

“Local families are really anxious about the risk to pedestrians – particularly as the crossing is used by children walking to the nearby Stroud Green Primary School.”

Lynne Featherstone MP, adds:

“Following our two-year battle with the Council to make this road safer it has now identified something needs to be done – now is the time for action, not words.”

Haringey Council wastes thousands in parking fine mess-up

Information uncovered by local Liberal Democrats shows that last year Haringey Council had to cancel 277 parking tickets, at an estimated cost of £36,000, after it failed to respond to residents’ parking appeals in time.

Liberal Democrats have said that the information is evidence that the Council has handed out so many parking fines that it can not cope with the amount of appeals that are subsequently lodged. The Council has a duty to respond to an appeal contesting a parking fine within 56 days or the fine is written off.

Cllr Richard Wilson (Stroud Green) who unearthed the information, comments:

“It’s quite worrying that the Council is so keen to ticket residents that they can’t keep up with the appeals workload and enforce parking restrictions properly.

“Not only does this waste local residents’ time, energy and provide undue worry, local taxpayers may have lost out too due to the Council’s failure to respond in time.

“Some of the tickets that were automatically cancelled after 56 days may well have been legitimate, losing the council much-needed funds.”

Lynne Featherstone MP adds:

“This is another example of the fact that this Labour-run council is not on top of its finances, adding to an already long list with botched Ally Pally deals, and expensive new computers equipment, costing Haringey tax payers millions of pounds.

“In these tough times, when the Council is closing valued services like older people’s drop-in clubs and children centres, they need to take extra care with every penny, not waste it on mistakes like this.”


Liberal Democrats join FoodCycle 1st birthday celebrations

Liberal Democrats join FoodCycle 1st birthday celebrations

To mark one year of serving good healthy food to the people of Stroud Green, Lynne Featherstone MP and Councillor Richard Wilson joined in the festivities and visited FoodCycle Cafe to celebrate their 1st birthday on Friday.

The Cafe, in the MIND Centre in Station House on Stapleton Hall Road, which opened its doors to the people of Haringey one year ago, serves affordable vegetarian food to local residents using unwanted produced from local supermarkets.

The Stroud Green Cafe, one of only two in London, aims to recycle unwanted produce from large and small supermarkets, providing good value healthy food where it’s needed most.

Lynne Featherstone MP was recently instrumental in persuading Tesco to join the other major supermarket chains in donating unwanted food to FoodCycle.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments

“We live in a society of waste. FoodCycle is working hard to turn waste into nutrition for people who need it most. That is admirable and well worth celebrating in itself.

“Here today we are celebrating a whole year of doing this and going from strength to strength, with more people volunteering and more residents taking advantage of the yummy food on offer.

“I’m delighted to be here today and celebrate such an important occasion. I am hoping for many more good years to come!”

Cllr Richard Wilson adds:

“The Station House Cafe has proved hugely popular with local Stroud Green residents, both as customers and volunteers.  Local people have really bought into the FoodCycle concept of reducing waste, protecting the environment and providing nutritious food.

“It is also fantastic to see Stroud Green’s historic Station House being used by the community for such an important cause.  The Cafe has become a really busy and vibrant place for local people.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commenting on Sharon Shoesmith's appeal

Commenting on the judgment by the Court of Appeal allowing the appeal of Sharon Shoesmith against a High Court ruling that the manner of her dismissal after the death of Baby Peter was lawful, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“It would seem that Sharon Shoesmith was unlawfully dismissed because of procedural issues. My understanding is that the court is not saying that she should or should not have lost her job, but that proper procedures to dismiss her were not followed. However, that is a matter for Haringey Council and Ed Balls.

“The Children’s Act 2004, which followed the tragic death of Victoria Climbie and Lord Laming’s report, set in law that the Head of Children’s Services should be responsible for failings in their service. Sharon Shoesmith was Head of Children’s Services.”
Cllr Richard Wilson, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition on Haringey Council, adds:
“The Children’s Act 2004 clearly sets out lines of responsibility for failures to protect children. This was to ensure that never again could bucks be passed.
“People in Haringey and up and down the country who saw how Haringey Council failed to protect Baby Peter, will find it hard to fathom how the Council managed not to follow correct procedure. This is another blow in the process of restoring confidence and competence in Haringey’s Children’s Service.”

Haringey Council admits “out of control” spending

A recent Guardian report has highlighted how Haringey Council has admitted that action to cut wasteful spending could have been taken years ago. Local taxpayers, faced with the closure of older people’s day centres and cuts to children’s centres, youth services and parks, will be outraged to learn that these cuts could been avoided, Liberal Democrat have said.  
The article revealed that the Council was spending £12million a year more than necessary on goods and services like printing, IT, consultants and bottled water.  Opposition councillors say these are yet more examples of Labour’s “out of control” spending.
The Council had 14 different bottled water suppliers, spent £5million more than needed on printing, used 60 different consultants and thousands of temp workers. In total, savings of £12million were made on procuring goods and services at cheaper prices. 
Liberal Democrats, who have been arguing that Council has been wasting millions due to poor management and procurement for years, have said this is an admission of failure by the Council and have called for further scrutiny of the Council’s finances.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:
“If Labour had listened to outside criticism this waste could have been identified earlier and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money could have been saved.
“Hard-pressed local taxpayers will be outraged to hear that, instead of closing older people day centres cutting funding for parks and youth services, Labour could have been sticking to their promises to protect front-line services. But this is another example of their out-of-control spending.
“Whilst belatedly the Council have acted to reduce costs they should see this as a wake up call and start embracing scrutiny. We need a beefed up watchdog body which can get its teeth into the Council’s finances and ensure local people get value for money.”
Lynne Featherstone MP adds:
“It is widely known that Labour nationally overspent and contributed to the financial troubles the country is now in. The Council has now admitted that they too failed to act to reduce costs that could and should have protected front-line services.
“It is unfair that the most vulnerable residents are losing vital services because of Labour’s inability to keep Council spending under control”.

A legacy of 40 years of Labour failure

On the day that marks 40 years of continuous Labour rule in Haringey it has been revealed that the borough is more deprived than at any time in the past decade. Liberal Democrats have branded new deprivation figures, which show Haringey as the 8th most deprived authority in the country, as “the legacy of Labour’s forty years in power”.
The figures released by the Government show that since 2000 Haringey has moved from the 28th to the 8th most deprived area in the country, with areas such as Northumberland Park and White Hart Lane continuing to be in the top ten of deprived areas in London.
Liberal Democrats have highlighted Labour’s failure to tackle deprivation and inequality in Haringey during their four decades in power. They say that this failure adds to the list of financial and public disasters under Labour in the last 40 years including the bungled sell-off of Alexandra Palace, £37million lost in Icelandic banks, millions of pound overspent on IT schemes, two tragedies due to failures in children’s services, and residents facing the highest Council Tax rates in London.
The Indices of Deprivation figures show that, since 2007, three more areas in Haringey are considered as being in the 10% most deprived wards in the country. This is contrary to many Councils in London which have seen a reduction in the amount of deprived areas and have improved their position in the deprivation scale.
Cllr Richard Wilson, Haringey Liberal Democrat Leader, comments:
“Forty years of Labour and what do local residents get in return – a more deprived borough than at any time in the last decade; a council still recovering after its second children’s services disaster; a council with a list of financial disasters longer than Greece’s and a borough still with massive health and income inequality.
“On top of this we now have a Labour administration hell bent on closing children’s centres, cutting youth services and closing older people’s day centres – this is the legacy of forty years of Labour mismanagement. Our residents deserve better.”
Lynne Featherstone MP adds:
“Labour squandered their chance in government and left our economy in tatters. In Haringey, the forty years of Labour has been punctuated with financial disasters, marred by tragedies and scattered with scandals. I’m just glad we have Liberal Democrat councillors holding this poorly-led Council to account.
“Labour in government had years of a booming economy yet failed to meet their own child poverty targets, whilst income inequality actually increased.
“After just one year in government Liberal Democrats have lifted 2,900 local residents out of paying any income tax at all, 25,500 of Haringey’s pensioners are being given £4.50 a week more in their pension and our schools are getting extra money through the Pupil Premium.”

Budget 2011 – help for thousands of low paid residents in Haringey

It is estimated that over a thousand of the lowest paid residents in Haringey will not have to pay income tax from April 2011 after the announcement by the government today that the tax threshold will increase by £630 to £8105.
The effect of the government’s change to income tax rates is estimated to reduce annual tax bills by £200 for 76,000 local residents and lift 1,300 people in the borough from paying any income tax at all. 
The announcement by the coalition government is the next step in the implementation of a key Liberal Democrat policy to ensure, by 2015, that no-one earning less than £10,000 a year pays income tax.
Welcoming the announcement, Cllr Richard Wilson, Deputy Leader of Haringey Liberal Democrats, comments:
“I welcome the government’s recognition that local residents should be free from central government taxes on their income less than £8015. When people want to work they should have incentives that show work pays. This will help some of the lowest paid workers in Haringey and is a great step towards tackling the inequality in this borough which has festered under Labour.”
Lynne Featherstone MP added:
“This is another step towards achieving the Liberal Democrat aim to ensure that no-one has to pay tax on the first £10,000 of their hard-earned wages. I am glad that, even after the horrendous state Labour left our public finances, Liberal Democrats in government are still able to deliver real benefits for local people struggling on low wages.”