Councillors from across all parties except the Tories united in Tower Hamlets Council tonight to pass Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s budget for the coming financial year.
At the heart of the mayor’s proposals was a clear drive to protect the welfare of residents from the strain of the current economic climate; put money back into the local economy; protect the borough’s previous investment in its third sector, and minimise the impact of central government cuts on vital frontline services.
Mayor Rahman said:
“My priority for this budget is a very simple. I wanted a budget that protects our borough from this government’s cuts agenda. And I want this budget to deliver value for money. I am really happy that councillors from Labour, Lib Dems and Respect have worked with me to achieve this.
This budget commits us to protecting frontline services; there will be no closures of libraries or leisure centres in Tower Hamlets. It commits us to protecting front-line and lower waged staff. And it commits us to maintaining our grant levels to voluntary and community organisations.
At a time when this government is taking money out of the pockets of the poorest, this budget also ensures we are putting some back in.
I am proud to say that Council Tax will be frozen for third year in a row. And I am proud there will be no increases in fees and charges above inflation for the vast majority of services we provide to residents.
My priority was to best protect the most vulnerable in our community. I believe this budget enables me to do so.”