Archive for October, 2012

Congratulations Brendan Riney

Congratulations to Brendan Riney, founder of Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs, who was awarded the awarded the MBE at Buckingham Palace for his philanthropic work. It is richly deserved. More here.


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I was really pleased to see that Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park recently received the Green Flag Community Award in recognition for the upkeep and management of the park. The award is testimony to the fantastic work done by Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. They came together over twenty years ago frustrated with the neglect of the Park and since then have helped transform it into a sanctuary for people and a place of biodiversity. Congratulations to the Friends
of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park for their contribution to winning this award.

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Rip-off Britain

Reports that lack of affordable housing is pushing an extra 10,000 working people a month into claiming housing benefits will come as a shock to those who think it’s only those not working who need benefits.

The fact is that increasing numbers of people are finding it difficult to make ends meet. Unable to get credit from the banks they have no option but to borrow the cash they need from legal loan sharks, incurring rip-off interest charges in the process.
Consumer group estimates 800,000 UK households have taken out payday loans. Research shows these households are not borrowing for luxury or non-essential goods. They are people on low incomes who need credit just to get by.
Labour MP Stella Creasy is right to say ‘Payday loans are a toxic form of credit. It’s a big problem and will get worse’. I support her call for a cap on rip-off interest rates.

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Congratulations to Cllr Rabina Khan for her articulate and thoughtful presentation on multiculturalism in Britain to the BBC 4 – Four Thought programme. You can listen to it in full here.   


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Time to Stand up to Tory Austerity

This Saturday, the TUC is expecting hundreds of thousands to answer it’s call and march through central London, demanding an end to cuts and austerity and for a future ‘that works’. I will be joining that mass demonstration, as I expect will many from right across the east end of London.

Read the rest of my article in the Huffington Post here.

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Save Our Fire Stations

Boris Johnson’s plans to shut 17 fire stations and axe 600 jobs will have a devastating impact on fire safety across London. His plans to shut stations in Bow and Whitechapel will put lives at risk. I call on the residents of Tower Hamlets, and politicians from across all political parties, to join with me in supporting the Fire Brigades Union’s campaign to stop these cuts. Together we can save our fire stations.


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Alan Milburn is right about the EMA

Government anti-poverty adviser Alan Milburn is right: the Coalition did make “a very bad mistake” when it abolished the EMA grant for 16 and 17-year-olds who stay on at school. I am proud that we have reintroduced it in Tower Hamlets. Hopefully other councils, and a future Labour government, will follow our example.

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Visitors to Victoria Park will be able to enjoy learning about its fascinating history by listening to an audio trail as they wander around the grounds. The Memoryscape Trail, which was launched by Tower Hamlets Council last week, includes memories from park users, including elderly residents who remember growing vegetables in the park during World War Two. More here.


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A visit to the Edge of Arabia

Last Saturday 6th Oct I attended the opening of the #COMETOGETHER  exhibition by Edge of Arabia. The exhibition brings together over 25 established and emerging artists from around the Arab and Islamic World, showcasing large-scale, multi-media work. This is Edge of Arabia’s return to London and most ambitious exhibition to date.

I took time to look around the exhibition and found many of the pieces  thought provoking and inspiring. One piece which particularly caught my attention was a recreation of the United States Capitol Dome with Arabic text in the interior leaning on the Statue of Freedom which sat in the middle of the 2000 square metre warehouse.  

I must thank Stephen Stapleton and Edge of Arabia Team for engaging with the Council and Nurul Islam from the Mile End Community Project for helping to involve young people and the community.

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When David Cameron and George Osborne first coined the phrase “We are all in it together”, I started counting the spoons. The idea that these multi-millionaire ex-Etonians, both of who have no experience of life at the sharp end should speak in such a glib manner was shocking enough. That many in the media would go along with this fiction, and also pretend that in this age of austerity ‘welfare reform’ could mean anything but ‘welfare cuts’ was even worse.

Read my latest article in the Huffington Post here


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