Author Archives: Lynne Featherstone

Lynne Featherstone writes: Smart consumers: the bedrock of the clean energy revolution

“Our roofs will power our washing machines. Our cars will be charged at home. Our homes will be warm without turning the heating on. Our energy will be British, it will be clean.”

This is the vision Tim Farron set out as part of our strategy for Britain to lead the clean energy revolution.

A smarter energy system is a key piece of the puzzle, which will mean this vision can be delivered.

Academics such as Professor Dieter Helm have frequently talked about the potential of this change to improve how our energy systems work. Not only will smarter energy benefit our environment and help to reduce our carbon footprint, but it will support economic growth, innovation, competition and choice in the energy market.

Today, our interaction with energy is simple. We pay for the energy we use, often sticking with the same energy supplier for many years.

Many consumers pay far too much for their energy as a result.

But how we buy energy could be very different and lead to far cheaper bills.

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Our green economy can only be protected from full Tory demolition by staying in the EU

Lynne-Featherstone---Stroud

Lynne Featherstone has joined forces with Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity  to talk about how the EU helps the renewable sector.

Just one year of a Tory-only Government we have seen a dangerous unravelling of the green actions of the Coalition. Our investment in the renewable sector made Britain the fastest growing green economy in Europe, created jobs and set solar and wind power on a path to becoming subsidy-free. This progress has been flung into jeopardy by a Government that has not made much effort to hide what it thinks of this “green crap”.

The renewable sector should be seen as an exciting area of innovation and growth, at a time when countries around the world are increasing their investment in green technology in response to global pressure to tackle climate change and domestic pressure to improve air quality. The UK is already a world leader in offshore wind and has the potential to establish this status in other areas such as tidal.

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Baroness Lynne Featherstone writes…The State killed my nephew

It’s true. Nick was a haemophiliac and was infected with Hepatitis C and exposed to CJD through NHS treatment. And the Government knew the treatments were contaminated. They were warned. The NHS used blood treatment which bought blood – from American convicts. But the government carried on using contaminated blood products despite those warnings.

The result was 4670 haemophiliacs in the UK infected with HIV, Hepatitis C or both – and many exposed to CJD. In regard of the latter the consequences of that exposure are still unknown. In terms of HIV and Hepatitis C almost all haemophiliacs were infected with one or other or both. Over 2000 have died.

Nick died of Hepatitis C – or rather he died from a treatment meant to cure it. Nick was 35 years old, and left a 10 month old daughter, his partner of fourteen years. Nick’s mother (my sister), his father and his twin will never get over that loss. And that loss is made worse by the battle to get financial support and to get the government to admit its fault. It has never done so. The crucial papers were destroyed according the Department of Health.  Lord David Owen, former British Health Minister said ‘I can see why some people would be unhappy with having all the facts revealed because it will show negligence’.  No public inquiry has taken place. It must.

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Baroness Lynne Featherstone writes…We must be an anti fracking party

This weekend we have an opportunity to change our position on fracking. I believe we should take it.Since becoming party spokesperson for energy and climate change, I have spent many hours listening to party activists, experts and public reaction. It is clear to me that it is time for change.

We need energy security. We need sustainable energy. We need to meet our legally binding targets. Fracking will not deliver any of these. But it will deliver greenhouse gases.

It is not logical or sensible to develop fracking at the very moment we have signed up to the Paris agreement on climate …

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Lynne Featherstone writes…March with me for a pledge we can be proud of

The long awaited Paris talks on climate change are finally upon us. This is a chance for the world to come together to address the biggest threat facing humanity and decide on a collective response.

As a party we have been extremely committed to the cause of addressing climate change for many years and we’re not going to stop now. Nick Clegg signed a pledge with David Cameron and Ed Miliband for the UK Government to seek a deal in Paris to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees. We need to make sure this happens.

I am speaking at the big climate rally in London on 29th November – The People’s March – and will be marching with Green Liberal Democrats to make our voice heard.

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Tories’ huge backward step on climate change

A few wind turbines
Today the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, will give a speech to update us all on the Government’s energy policy. What she will say has been widely trailed and it contains some seriously bad news.

The last six months have seen a relentless and systematic unravelling of the excellent work done by Ed Davey to develop the green economy. The Government is now going one step further to deprioritise decarbonisation as a main goal, in favour of making energy security its number one priority. It does not seem to realise it is possible to deliver on both.

Amber Rudd will say she plans to curb the growth of renewable industries even further, with the logical conclusion that there must be an increase in nuclear and gas to meet energy needs. This means expensive subsidies paid to other countries, rather than investment in renewables in the UK, and also fracking.

The most baffling aspect of the Government’s abandonment of the renewable sector is the fact there is such a strong business case for investing in green industries. We might understand their actions if it was just about environmental concern, which Conservatives have never been strong on, and we know of the power wielded by backbench climate-change deniers and fossil fuel lobbyists. But to ignore the long-term economic case in favour of short-term cash gains is extraordinary. The UK has been a world leader in this sector and continuing to invest and develop these job-creating industries while we have a competitive advantage and while the costs of producing renewable energy are plummeting is simply good economic sense.

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Lynne Featherstone writes…Why I’m backing Norman Lamb for leader

Norman Lamb Lynne FeatherstoneNot for the first time in the history of the party, the Lib Dems are faced with adversity – after the crushing loss of a huge number of our dedicated and hardworking colleagues. But we are a party of survivors – and it has been incredible to see the surge of support for the party in the last two weeks. Over 13,000 people have signed up to the party since the general election. These new members have joined because they see the need for a liberal voice in our country.

I know what it is like to be the only Lib Dem in the Home Office – with Conservatives as your coalition partners and Theresa May as your Secretary of State. And you want to do liberal things – that are not in the coalition agreement!

What I am saying is that doing liberal things in a coalition government with coalition partners who are more often than not diametrically opposed is a huge challenge. Having got our hands on the levers of power – could we use that power liberally?

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Lynne Featherstone writes on violence against women in India and Burma

Since 2010 I’ve had the pleasure of serving as the UK’s ministerial champion for tackling violence against women and girls (VAWG) overseas – a role that’s followed me from the Home Office to Department for International Development and back, which makes sense. It’s a clear sign that as well as our commitment to tackling violence against women and girls in the UK, this Coalition Government is committed to working internationally to end this global problem.

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes…A great leap backwards for gay rights

Uganda’s new anti-homosexuality legislation is abhorrent. It imposes draconian penalties for repeat offences of homosexuality, so-called ‘aggravated’ homosexuality, same-sex marriage, attempting to commit homosexuality and for the loosely defined ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. This is nothing short of a great leap backward – not just for Uganda but for gay rights across Africa. I believe it marks a growing state-backed homophobic trend across the continent, one we cannot and should not ignore.

From Day 1 in my role as Africa minister at the Department for International Development (DFID), strengthening the department’s LGBT rights strategy has been one of my top priorities. I …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Lib Dem action on tax helps to ease the cost of living

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

There are so many perks of living in Haringey – vibrant high streets, good transport links, wonderful parks and views – to name but a few!

But on the downside, our bin collections, roads and other public services are notoriously bad. Haringey Council – which is run by Labour – has been rated the worst in London.

Week in, week out, Haringey Labour seem to lurch from one crisis to another. They failed to meet their own targets for making our local …

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Lynne Featherstone writes…Giving residents a say on High St redevelopment

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

I declare an interest in Hornsey High Street. My constituency office is based there, above the Three Compasses pub! As such, I spend a lot of time on the High Street – popping into the shops and cafes and talking to local residents.

The old Depot site on the High Street (almost opposite the pub) has been a point of contention for many years. Parts of the site have been derelict since 1998 and the land is desperately underused, as Labour-run Haringey Council …

Posted in Op-eds | 19 Comments

Lynne Featherstone writes… Bonuses for Homes for Haringey staff are sickening when tenants need repairs and there aren’t enough homes

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Social housing in Haringey is in high demand. There are currently over 10,000 individuals and families stuck on the waiting list – and many will not have the chance to bid for a property in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, people are often in cramped conditions in the private sector, or waiting in low quality ‘temporary’ accommodation. This has a detrimental effect on both the children and adults in these situations.

And once families are given social housing in Haringey, it’s …

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Lynne Featherstone writes … My visit to Uganda: “Disability is not inability”

Lynne Featherstone in UgandaMore than one billion people worldwide – that’s 1 in 7 people – live with a disability. And last year’s Paralympics reminded us that people with disabilities can achieve incredible feats. But for every disabled person celebrated for their achievements, there are millions more in the developing world who are treated as sub-human, hidden from view and forgotten. They are the great neglect in international development and I am determined to right this wrong.

Last week, UK Paralympic wheelchair basketball star Ade Adepitan travelled with me to Uganda with …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… One Million Jobs

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Campaigning on the doorstep - Lynne FeatherstoneThe Liberal Democrats in Government have helped businesses create over one million jobs. Now we are working to create one million more!

Work is so important to individuals and families in the UK. It pays the bills, gives us purpose and fulfilment, and provides security for our long term futures.

I was so happy when I got my first job with a small design …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Fairer tax for low earners and part time workers

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

Week after week, I meet local residents at my constituency advice surgeries. Many are working hard in full or part time jobs, but still struggling to make ends meet due to the current economic climate.

The unemployed and part timers often tell me they want to work more but also keep more of the money they earn.

The Lib Dems have known this for a long time. And from now, the amount you can earn before being taxed has risen to £9,440. …

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes…the Aid budget and the Ministry of Defence

Despite extensive media coverage this morning, the aid budget is not about to be slashed to fund the Ministry of Defence.

All aid spending from the Department of International Development (DFID) is in line with internationally agreed guidelines. There is a strict definition of what can count as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), which was established by the OECD. For example, aid cannot be spent on combat operations nor on military equipment.

It can be (and is) used to train another country’s security forces in human rights awareness, including gender-based violence issues – something I’m sure all …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Education, education, education

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

Lynne Feahterstone visiting a Haringey primary school. Some rights reserved. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lynnefeatherstone/3010645357/My mother and father were not that enthused about education. Going out to work as soon as possible and earning a living came higher up on their agenda. When you had known poverty as they had – earning took precedence over learning. I went to my local school – Highgate Primary. (We are talking over fifty years ago). Luckily for me …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Three Lib Dem policies really stand out for me in 2012

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

What a year 2012 has been! There are three Lib Dem policies that really stand out for me this year: the Pupil Premium, income tax reductions for low paid and middle income workers and equal marriage.

Before entering Government, the Lib Dems knew there were serious social mobility problems in the UK. Only one in five young people from the poorest families achieve five good GCSEs compared to three out of four from the richest families. Through the …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Royal Mail plans fail to deliver!

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

When I get in and find a little card saying ‘we tried to deliver but you were out’ – I am always annoyed – because it means extra bother. Currently that bother is either re-organising delivery on another day, organising for it to go to a neighbour or popping into Archway Road post office to collect it at my convenience. With my schedule – only the last of those is a real possibility. But that small bother is about to get a whole lot worse!

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Haringey deserves better

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…

I’m often asked why I got in to politics. There were a number of causes– but prominent amongst them was (and still is) complete and utter frustration with the Labour-run Haringey Council!

I live in a small cul-de-sac and whilst most dwellings here have one off street parking space (including me) many don’t. Some years ago now – Haringey decided to paint double yellow lines on both sides of the road – completely unnecessarily – which would have meant no parking …

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes… First ever Lib Dem DFID Minister, first trip to Africa

A month after taking up my new role as Minister for Africa in the Department for International Development, I’m currently on my first trip to the continent – South Sudan, via an overnight stop in Kenya.

Though I’ve actually been to Africa in my role as International Champion for Tackling Violence against Women Overseas, a role I’ve held since soon after the Coalition was formed, I’m anxious to see first-hand the work that DFID does toward alleviating suffering, bettering people’s lives and working with partner governments to improve their

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Local services matter!

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one…..

What would we do without our schools, hospitals, post and sorting offices, small businesses and pubs? Our local services are the backbone of our community and need to be protected – but they have been under threat in Haringey for years.

Right from our childhood, we begin to benefit from one of the most important local services – schools. It is vital that schools have enough money to provide a good education and pay their teachers decent wages. Haringey’s schools, however, faced

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes… The Equality Games

International Development minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, her last whilst at the Home Office…..

Wow! I have screamed, shouted, cheered, laughed and cried through the Olympics and Paralympics. And like everyone, I am just so proud of what we have achieved – and the friendly, cheerful way we have achieved it.

With my work on equalities issue, it is the increasing parity between male and female sports and sports stars and between the Olympics and Paralympics which has particular caught my eye. I would simply call the 2012 Games the …

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes… George Galloway’s comments on rape are totally unacceptable, and they have an effect

In recent days, on both sides of the Atlantic, there have been not one, but two expressions of the kind of attitudes on rape you had hoped died with the Dark Ages.

First, a US Republican Senate Candidate, Todd Akin, suggested that most women do not become pregnant after being raped as their body can, and I quote, ‘shut that whole thing down’.

Then Britain’s own George Galloway, while offering his opinions on the Julian Assange case, took it upon himself to assert that certain acts of sexual violence are nothing more than ‘bad manners’, and that having …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… The worst roads in the country?

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, turning on the local council’s record on road repairs.

It sometimes seems that the only thing Haringey Council is good at is finding new ways to fail local people. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised to read that the borough has the worst maintained roads in England.

A new survey by the Department for Transport shows that one in five of Haringey’s main roads are in need of some kind of repair. No other council area in England has …

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Lynne Featherstone writes… In the summertime

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, on that very British subject of the weather.

In the summertime, when the weather is hot… is how the song goes – but as I put on heavy stockings and boots to go to a community picnic on the day I am writing this column, with the wind howling and rain predicted for the next several days yet again, summer and hot do not seem to go together!

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Lynne Featherstone writes… Banning, or rather not banning, crosses at work

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest one, looking at the legal action over people wearing crosses at work.

I was walking down Crescent Road in my constituency the other day when a woman came up to me and said something to the effect of, ‘I think you are a fantastic MP – but I am so upset that you are banning people from wearing the cross’.

So – from the mischievous misinformation from the pages of our print …

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes: How the Liberal Democrats are delivering for women

As we celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, I’m proud to represent Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. I know that our involvement has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of women in a range of ways.

We’ve got lots to shout about, so please spread the word: blog and tweet about it and forward this to your friends.

Here’s how we’re delivering for women –

  • When it comes to shielding women in need from the brunt of the economic squeeze, our policy to free the lowest paid from income tax has played a key role in protecting women. Women make

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Lynne Featherstone MP writes… We do not just elect individuals, we elect people to be members of a team

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone writes a monthly column for one of her local newspapers. Here is the latest edition, looking at Parliamentary representation.

Our Parliament has come a long way in recent years. In fact, watching ‘The Iron Lady’ with Margaret Thatcher sticking out like a blue female sore thumb amongst the total male greyness of the then chamber – it reminded me of how recently in history this establishment was nearly all male.

However, despite real progress, it is still nowhere near reflecting the percentage of women in the country – and that is without even starting to talk about …

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Lynne Featherstone’s speech to conference

Conference – the Liberal Democrats have now been in Government for more than 500 days.

And I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking – this is tough.

And I know that it hasn’t always been easy; and that at times the reality of this Coalition business is very tough.

But that is the point. That is what we are here for.

Because who are we – if not the party who makes the hard calls?

We are the ones who opposed Iraq – when no one else did;

Who championed the Green agenda – when no one else did;

Who warned of the banking crisis – …

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