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Archive for January, 2013

Lessons from Bradford West

A new report about the political lessons from Labour’s by-election loss in Bradford West makes for interesting reading. The author locates Labour’s shocking defeat in an electorate fed up with being treated as voting fodder by local Labour politicians, alienated from the democratic process by an ossified Labour machine, and wanting to be represented by  a ‘real’ Labour, and not a ‘new’ Labour, candidate. This will chime with many in Tower Hamlets!

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My interview with the Guardian

The council has just outlined its three-year financial plan. Rahman has pledged not to close libraries, children’s centres or leisure centres and will keep home care free for people with “critical” and “substantial” needs. Is it time that Tower Hamlets, a political morass and England’s third most deprived authority where half the 250,000 residents are from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, mostly Bangladeshi, be looked at afresh? Rahman thinks so. “Judge what we are doing as an administration, as a council. Judge our community and our strength of community cohesion rather than what you hear or read,” he says.

More here.

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‘The Town Hall has emerged as the highest-ranking of all 33 London boroughs in Stonewall’s ‘Workplace Equality’ index’.

More here.

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Press Release

From Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Mayor Lutfur Rahman brings in £165 million to improve borough’s housing

At a reception with residents and partner agencies today Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets announced an investment of £165M in the council’s housing stock.

This is in addition to the £16M Tower Hamlets is to receive under the government’s New Homes Bonus scheme because the borough is building more homes than any other authority in the country.

 Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “I’m delighted with this £165 million investment. Over 8,000 homes will receive Decent Homes work over the next 3 years. I’m also proud that we’ll be creating many local jobs and apprenticeships as well as supporting local suppliers through this scheme.”

Cllr. Rabina Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing said:  “Thanks to the Mayor’s commitment to improving the council’s housing stock, all of our properties are on track to become Decent by 2015. This administration will do whatever it can to address the borough’s pressing housing need.’’

 Ends

 Notes to editors:

1. The initial award of £94.5M was secured by Mayor Rahman in December 2010 with the promise of an extra £70.6M dependent on the delivery of the first phase of works. Those works have been completed ahead of time giving the borough access to the £70.6M.

2. The investment is in addition to the Pilot Project (worth  around £7.5M) that was delivered while Mayor Rahman was Leader of the Council in 2009.

 For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain, Political Advisor to the Mayor on 07508 352 023 or email numan.hussain@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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Cabinet members from Tower Hamlets Council have vowed that frontline services will be protected while savings of £30m are made after approving a three year budget plan last week. Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s Independent cabinet put forward proposals to ‘balance the books’ and make the savings during the period up to the 2015/16 budget. Key measures in the plan include a freeze on council tax for the fourth consecutive year, and a £1million fund to help families in Tower Hamlets cope with the government’s forthcoming welfare reforms.

More here

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Today I was delighted to announce my plans for £36 million of investment in Poplar Baths.  This will ensure the regeneration of the 1882 landmark with a new pool and state of the art leisure facilities. The investment will also see the provision of up to 100 affordable homes.  I am very happy to be returning this historic local landmark back to the community.

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Government’s war on welfare

Yesterday saw the opening shots of this Government’s attempts to roll back the Welfare State, and shift the burden for the billions paid out to the banks, onto ordinary working people. Regrettably Tory and Lib Dem MP’s pushed through plans for a cap on welfare benefits. The consequence of this decision will have major implications for Tower Hamlets residents. Government plans will hit not just the poorest families hardest, they will also penalise working families. As an investigation by the Observer newspaper highlighted, up to half a million key workers such school teachers, nurses and soldiers will lose cash, in many cases running to hundreds of pounds.

I am really glad to see that the Labour leader Ed Miliband has come out strongly in opposition. But that opposition cannot just be confined to parliament alone. That’s why I support the recent call for councillors up and down the country to develop a national strategy of resistance. We have a rich tradition of civil protest in this country. It was revolt over the Poll Tax that helped sink the last Tory government. I believe we will need more of the same to sink this one.

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Boundary review: ward names

You may be aware that yesterday was the deadline for submissions to the public consultation on the latest stage of the local boundary review.

There has been a great deal of public interest in this process from start to finish, and the main controversies that remain concern proposed names for certain wards.

So that you can be aware of my own position on these issues, I have decided to post here the letter that I submitted to the Commission as part of the consultation process:

Boundary submission

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