Articles

 

My article for the Ham&High.

Grammar schools are not the answer

  My article for the Ham&High. Read more »

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My article for the New Statesman.

Beware Tory Brexiteers trying to wreck EU negotiations

My article for the New Statesman. Read more »

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My article for Labour List.

Human rights under attack again as Colombia peace hangs deal in the balance

  My article for Labour List. Read more »

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My article for The Independent.

If Theresa May wants her Government to work for everyone, then Philip Hammond needs to start budgeting for gender

My article for The Independent. Read more »

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My article for the New Statesman.

The House of Lords must give EU citizens the right to remain

My article for the New Statesman. Read more »

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Here's my article for the Huffington Post.

Everywhere You Look Doors Are Being Shut To Refugees - Britain Can Do Better

Here's my article for the Huffington Post. Read more »

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When the Chairman of HSBC Bank, Douglas Flint, appeared before Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee back in 2015 to face questions on the bank’s activities, he admitted his shame at “a terrible list” of misdemeanors. He wasn’t wrong. It included Libor manipulation, mis-selling mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Forex rigging, weakness in money laundering and systematic aiding of tax avoidance for the wealthy clients at HSBC’s Swiss subsidiary.

Two years on, we can now add disregard of local communities and high streets to that list. Last year, HSBC closed over 200 branches – more than any of the other major banks – and they’ve just announced another 62 closures this year, including one right here in Wood Green.

Gone is their commitment to being the “world’s local bank”. If they carried on at this rate, they’d have no branches left by the end of 2019.

Closing the busy Wood Green HSBC branch would come as a real blow to the many residents and businesses who rely on its over-the-counter branch services and to the dedicated branch staff whose jobs are now under threat. Existing customers are being told that their accounts will be moved over to the Palmers Green branch, two miles away. That’s particularly difficult for older and disabled people who now face a bus or car journey to talk face-to-face to bank staff and are less likely to use telephone or internet banking. Likewise, local businesses who need to bank their cash each day understandably don’t want the safety and security risks, or the inconvenience, of having to travel long distances with it.

It feels like the pursuit of ever bigger profits by bank bosses is being placed above the needs of HSBC’s many customers.

It also feels like an incredibly shortsighted decision. With a £3.5-billion-pound investment plan in the pipeline to transform Wood Green over the coming years and deliver thousands of new homes, jobs, retail, office and leisure space, now isn’t the time to close the doors. Wood Green has so much to offer and I’d like to see HSBC putting something back into the community, staying and becoming part of the transformation – not leaving behind an unwelcome gap on the high street.

I have called for an urgent meeting with HSBC bosses to discuss these proposals and will be seeking to persuade them to rethink their misguided plan. If you bank there, drop me a line with your thoughts or come along to one of my regular advice surgeries. I want to send the message loud and clear that there is strong local opposition to the closure.

I’ve also set up a petition against the closure – you can sign it at: www.catherinewest.org.uk/save_wood_green_hsbc.

HSBC are putting profits above customers

When the Chairman of HSBC Bank, Douglas Flint, appeared before Parliament’s Treasury Select Committee back in 2015 to face questions on the bank’s activities, he admitted his shame at “a...

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Here's my article for the January-February issue of the Muswell Hill Flyer. 

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Our social care system is in crisis

Here's my article for the January-February issue of the Muswell Hill Flyer.  Read more »

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Saturday 10 December was International Human Rights day. Just nine days ago I visited Huber Ballesteros, a human rights activist, in La Picota jail in Bogotá, Colombia. I led a UK delegation to Bogota, and regional Colombia, to support the Colombian Peace Process with a group called Justice for Colombia. Justice for Colombia has worked on improving human rights for peasant communities “los campesinos”, families whose children have been “disappeared” and trade union activists. Over the last 20 years hundreds of human rights defenders have been imprisoned and assassinated for standing up for what they believe in. The United Nations Committee against Torture expressed concern over “the persistence of grave human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances”.

The Colombian peace process, voted through by the Congress in Colombia and supported by the United Nations, is bringing hope to Colombia, which has suffered for 52 years from Civil War. Huber Ballesteros, the prisoner of conscience, whom I visited, represented agricultural workers and is actively supporting the peace process, campaigning for an end to armed conflict in rural communities.

This human rights day, why not support the Colombian peace process by joining Amnesty International’s letter writing campaign. For prisoners in jail, hearing from the outside world can give a real boost to morale. Let human rights defenders know that you support their standing up for their beliefs even if it means a jail sentence. Hopes are high for Huber and hundreds like him to be freed as a part of the Peace Process and despite a spike in violence and political assassinations in the last 18 months, Colombians told me they feel a sense of optimism that this might be the moment for their country to move to a more peaceful way of life where the economy can grow, human rights can be respected and civil society can thrive.

International Human Rights Day

Saturday 10 December was International Human Rights day. Just nine days ago I visited Huber Ballesteros, a human rights activist, in La Picota jail in Bogotá, Colombia. I led a UK...

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Here's my article on the refugee crisis for the latest issue of the Muswell Hill Flyer.

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We should be doing more to help child refugees

Here's my article on the refugee crisis for the latest issue of the Muswell Hill Flyer. Read more »

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Catherine West MP

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