Name: Lynne Featherstone
Party: Liberal Democrats
Area Standing (Constituency): Hornsey and Wood Green
Signed The Positive Youth News Haringey Pledge: Yes
Responded To Online Hustings: Yes – Answers Below
Politicians always attack our youth centres when making cuts, what would you do to protect them?
Like all businesses, families and individuals, Local Authorities have had to save money and have faced some difficult decisions about what to cut from their budgets. I believe that Haringey Council – in targeting youth services and social care services – made the wrong decisions with their budget this year.
The Lib Dem opposition group and I did our best to stop them – and we did manage to call-in the decision – but in the end every Labour councillor voted to make those cuts. I can only promise -on a local level – to do my utmost to hold the council to account and prevent any further cuts to the youth budget.
In the national Lib Dem manifesto, we have a section on promoting social action and volunteering at school, college and university – and also to work on raising the status of youth work and youth workers – to make sure the youth centres keep going.
We also would work to improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in mentoring schemes and programmes that seek to raise aspiration – like ‘Speakers for Schools’ and ‘Inspiring The Future.’
Do you think the Duggan case has made it hard for the community to trust the police?
The police and intelligence agencies do vital work to protect the public and we are rightly proud of them. But the institution is by no means perfect – and parts of the Mark Duggan case exposed the flaws.
Unfortunately, where you are from, your ethnicity, health, sexuality and gender still too often affect how individuals are treated by the police and the justice system.
The Lib Dems are working to change that.
In our manifesto, we propose the challenge discrimination in the criminal justice system by:
- Improving the safeguards in police stop and search powers in England and Wales with tighter guidance and requiring police to wear body cameras in Section 60 areas
- Boosting police recruitment from BAME groups.
- Conducting a full review of the causes of the overrepresentation of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system.
We also would give victims of crime a right to review what progress police have made to investigate the crime committed against them – including cases where the police have declined to investigate.
Young people are the lowest voters, what can you do to increase voting participation?
I can see why young people are put off. At the moment, under the first past the post system, you see a huge amount of tactical voting. And at this election – there will likely be an outcome that the majority of the country aren’t happy with.
I think our electoral system is in dire need of reform. If we move towards proportional representation, where individual votes will feel like they count more and people are able to vote for what they really believe in, I think we’ll get much higher turnout from young people.
Electoral reform has been on the Lib Dem agenda for a long time. We secured the AV referendum – but unfortunately the country didn’t vote for change. If we’re back in government, we’ll give it another go!
As a local MP, I visit schools and sixth forms as often as I can to talk to students and hold events that they can be a part of. I hope the anti-FGM event I held at Hornsey Girls made them even more interested in politics, and the kind of things you can do as a politician.
Do you support votes at 16?
Absolutely – yes.
Do you think it is fair that there is a different minimum wage if you are under 18?
No it’s not. 16 and 17 year olds with part time jobs should be paid the same as over 18s.
The affordable housing being built in Haringey is not affordable, why is this allowed?
This is something I am just so angry about. Haringey Council have not built any new social housing at all in the last 25 years, which is appalling when you think about how many vulnerable families there are on the waiting list. Instead, they sell off sites to developers, and do not insist on there being genuinely affordable houses.
Take Hornsey Depot, for instance. During the application, residents and I objected to many aspects of the application – one being that there wasn’t enough affordable housing for local residents. Labour councillors waved through the development – and now the flats are being brought by property companies in Hong Kong.
As there is such a dire need for good quality, affordable housing in London and the country – the Lib Dems have a whole section on it in our manifesto.
Over the last five years, we’ve restored house building from record lows to nearly 150,000 a year. But more needs to be done – and our new pledge is to increase the rate of house building to 300,000 a year.
As the local MP, I’d of course be pushing for affordable housing projects to come to Haringey!
Why have you chosen to stand?
This is the area I grew up in. I care about the people here and it has been such a privilege to represent Hornsey and Wood Green for the last 10 years.
I’ve worked with residents to support and protect our public services – and together we have been so successful – saving the Whittington A&E, getting fairer funding for schools and more. I’d like to keep doing that for longer!
In the last five years, I’ve also been a Government Minister – and I’ve been able to push a really progressive, liberal agenda. I was the architect and originator of Equal Marriage law, and I announced the global campaign to end FGM. I’d like to carry on pushing the liberal agenda on the national stage, too.
When are we going to see real jobs not just supermarkets or sales?
At the moment, there are more people in work than ever before – over one million jobs have been created in the last five years, over 80% of which are full-time. There is – of course – more work to do to protect employees and create even more job for young people. The Lib Dems have already banned exclusive zero-hour contracts, and in the next parliament we want to go further and create a formal right to request a fixed contract.
One of the best things over the last five years has been the apprenticeship drive. Over 2 million apprenticeships have been created since 2010 – over 5000 of which are in Haringey. During apprenticeships, young people have the chance to learn a trade, gain qualifications and make contacts within an industry. This will make it easier to secure a full time, skilled job – or even start your own business!
Do you support the knocking down of Broadwater Farm estate?
While my constituency doesn’t cover Tottenham and the Broadwater Farm estate, I am aware of the proposed ‘redevelopment’ – and of the residents’ concerns.
As with other developments – I think it’s vital that the Council consults with residents and listens to their views on any proposed changes to their area. Residents know best!
Also – it’s important that any redevelopment benefits the local people and the area – and of course, any replacement housing must be genuinely affordable, too.
Do you think prison needs to be tougher?
I think that prisons should (wherever possible) attempt to rehabilitate and turn people away from a life of crime. The Lib Dems believe that a large prison population is a sign of failure to rehabilitate, not a sign of success. So our aim is to significantly reduce the prison population by using more effective alternative punishments.
In our manifesto, we’ve said we’ll further reform prisons so they become places of work, rehabilitation and learning. Offenders should receive an education and skills assessment within one week, start a relevant course and programme of support within one month and be able to complete courses on release.
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