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Archive for February 28th, 2013

Press Release

Tower Hamlets Labour vote to slash funds for the disabled, the elderly and the 3rd Sector

Critical budget-setting meeting dragged into confusion as Joshua Peck’s Labour fail to back their own proposal

In scenes reminiscent of The Thick of It, embattled Labour ‘Leader’ Joshua Peck led his party into a fresh crisis today after a series of blunders resulted in his councillors not supporting his own proposals.

Already under fire for cobbling together their alternative budget less than 48 hours before the meeting, Labour councillors made the shocking move of proposing that the Mayor take away thousands of pounds of funding support from the most vulnerable people in the borough and place it in reserves.

Following this, when called on to vote on their own proposals, Labour councillors inexplicably failed to act, despite being prompted several times by Council officers exasperated by their inaction.

Cllr. Alibor Choudhury , Cabinet Member for Resources said: “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. They were prompted several times to vote for their proposal but they sat there like rabbits in the headlights. Eventually officers took pity and adjourned the meeting so it could be explained to Labour again what they were supposed to do. They are a liability and should not be allowed anywhere near the Council’s budget, they just don’t get it.”

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “I am appalled at Joshua Peck’s assault on elderly, the disabled and the community groups that are the lifeblood of the borough. His behaviour tonight has been very odd and I call on the sane and competent members of the Labour Group to restore order and engage with me to pass this budget – our residents can’t afford any more incompetence, indecision or delays.”

Following Labour’s blunders tonight, the Council will meet again on Thursday 7th March to reconsider the budget.
Ends

Note to Editors:

Mayor Rahman announced the following growth and investment initiatives as part of his administration’s budget proposals. The investments are paid for from efficiency savings and prudent use of reserves.

· £1.26m to provide bursaries to 400 young people to help towards the cost of university.

· £800,000 for a borough-wide deep clean.

· £355,000 to invest in the commercial hubs of Brick Lane , Roman Road , Bethnal Green Road and Burdette Road .

· A £1m Preventing Homelessness fund to protect those affected by Housing Benefit Reform.

· £2.76m to fund Free School Meals (reception and year 1) for every school in the borough for the next two years.

· £1.33m for ten additional THEOs and improved CCTV coverage.

· £200,000 to repair potholes, replacing funding scrapped by the government.

· £100,000 in measures to support cyclists funded from capital receipts.

· £3m towards provision of a burial site for Tower Hamlets Residents – a project that has been kicked back and forth for almost a decade.

· A further £1m for the Faith Buildings Fund that allows Churches, Mosques, Synagogues and other faith buildings to repair run-down buildings and improve access.

· Freeze Council Tax for the fourth year in a row.

· Continued commitment to free Homecare.

· Libraries, Children’s Centres and One-Stop Shops kept open.

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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