The Guardian and the London School of Economics have produced a study of the recent disturbances entitled ‘Reading the Riots’. It makes for depressing reading. The study conveys a depth of alienation among sections of our youth which has worrying implications for the future, as well as suggesting that Britain may face years of public disorder.
I was pleased therefore to have the opportunity to address hundreds of socially conscious young people at The East London Communities Organisation’s (TELCO) 15th anniversary event last week.
TELCO are a remarkable success story. Since their establishment in 1996 they have established a reputation for successful and dynamic campaigns. From issues such as safer school routes and increasing the numbers of litter bins, to ending child detention in asylum centres and establishing a living wage, TELCO combine a distinctive campaigning voice with a reach that encompasses all communities.
My experience with TELCO has been mostly around the campaign for the living wage. I was proud to be able to be able to tell them that Tower Hamlets council is to increase the value of contracts with a commitment to living wage in the borough from £47.5m to £76.8m. We are going to extend the living wage to as many council contracts as allowed by law.
Our actions are further proof of the success of the living wage campaign and a partnership that has brought together the council, the unions and TELCO.
That, Mr Cameron, is the big society in action!
Congratulations to TELCO for 15th years of fantastic campaigning. I look forward to working with them to continue making Tower Hamlets a more equal and safer borough for all its citizens to enjoy.