New Year Message from Catherine West MP

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"2016 has certainly been an eventful year.

Against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of people here in Hornsey & Wood Green, Britain has voted to leave the European Union. We have a new Prime Minister, London has a new Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States of America.

People will hold different opinions on all these events, but what seems indisputable is that we are living in an age of uncertainty.

Whether you’re an EU citizen who’s made your home here, a business owner nervously viewing the economic forecasts or a parent wondering what sort of world your child will grow up in, I’ve been personally struck by how many thousands of local residents have contacted me in the months since the referendum to share their thoughts and fears. It’s been by far the biggest issue in my mailbag and as the Government continues to talk the talk of “hard Brexit” whilst refusing to set out what leaving the EU will mean for our country, our economy and our communities, I expect it to remain so next year.

As I have said on many occasions, I don’t believe leaving the EU is in our national interest and, as your MP, I will continue to oppose the Tories’ rush towards an exit that puts jobs at risk and abandons the cultural and economic ties our EU partnership has brought.

But Brexit isn’t the only challenge Hornsey & Wood Green faces over the coming year and it’s important it doesn’t push every other issue out of the picture.

The Tories proposed cuts to Hornsey & Wood Green’s school funding put at risk the fantastic progress we have seen in London’s schools. With these proposals under consultation in 2017 with a view to the changes being implemented in the academic year 2018-19, I will be working together with our local community over the next twelve months to do everything in my power to oppose them.

Our social care system is teetering on the brink of collapse and far too many elderly and vulnerable people aren’t receiving the support they need to live independent fulfilling lives. Under first the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition and now a Conservative Government, social care funding has been cut by £4.6 billion since 2010 despite rising demand. If a society can be judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens, then the care crisis is a damning indictment of this Government’s approach. It’s essential that 2017 sees a genuine injection of new money and concrete proposals for these vital services to be properly funded in the future.

Finally, earlier this month I invited Lord Alf Dubs to Hornsey & Wood Green to discuss what more can be done to help child refugees and to share his own experiences as a young boy saved from the Nazis under the Kindertransport project. Christmas is traditionally a time for togetherness and for holding our loved ones close, and my thoughts this year as last are with the lone refugee children who will not have that luxury. The haunting photograph of Aylan Kurdi’s tiny body washed up on a Turkish beach became the defining image of 2015, and I’d hoped this year would see the UK take leadership in the deepening refugee crisis. Sadly this has not been the case.

I voted for and strongly support the call for the UK to provide sanctuary to 3,000 lone refugee children, but months on from the “Dubs amendment”, there are still children from the demolished Calais camps – many with family links in the UK – stranded in France with little Home Office assistance. It is an issue many hundreds of local residents have contacted me about and I know there is a strong desire by the people of Hornsey & Wood Green to see the Government do much more to help these vulnerable young people. As your MP, I will keep up the pressure.

So, there is much to be done over the year ahead and I look forward to the challenge. It is an absolute privilege to be your Member of Parliament and your voice in Westminster.

My best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and happy new year."

Catherine West
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green

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