Merry Christmas from Mike Freer

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in Finchley and Golders Green a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy New Year. I hope that the festive period will provide a welcome break for all the residents of Finchley and Golders Green.  
 
This year’s Christmas comes against an ever-improving economic outlook. This week we saw the sharpest fall in unemployment in a decade. The amount of people in work topped 30m for the first time ever. The 537,000 jobs created in the private sector is almost 10 times those lost in the public sector. Here in Finchley and Golders Green, unemployment remains below the national average. The good news is welcome, but of course there is much more that needs to be done.
 
Proactive measures to help with household bills have also been taken by Barnet Council. The Conservative Administration at Barnet Council have frozen Council Tax for 5 years. For the next three years, the Council have proposed a cut in tax,  followed by two further years of no rises in Council Tax at all. Household bills are something I am contacted frequently about so this move is welcome for all of us in the Borough.
 
In education, many challenges remain. However, we recently saw the opening of the excellent new Archer Academy in East Finchley which will provide much needed places for non-denominational mixed-sex schooling. I have remained a vocal supporter of the Archer Academy and I wish them all the best for the future. Parents have also welcomed the opening of further schools; Rimon, Alma and Morasha which will help further alleviate pressures on school places.
 
On healthcare, the NHS budget has been increased in real terms in line with our election promise. I take a keen interest in our local services and have fought to ensure that we receive our fair share of Government money. I am pleased that here in Barnet, we are receiving around 3.11% of additional funding year on year. I am also continuing my 2010 election pledge campaign for better breast screening services, including a permanent screening unit. Anyone wishing to show their support can do so via the section on my website.
 
Aside from all the work that has taken place locally, I have still found time to partake in the festive season. I’m pictured above dressed as Santa Claus at the recent East Finchley Festival! This is another excellent example of the celebrations that have taken place locally. I also had the privilege of attending Diwali celebrations recently, in addition to the many Chanukah events that have occurred across Finchley and Golders Green.
 
I’m working on a number of campaigns in the New Year and hope to provide you with an update in due course. Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!