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Archive for March, 2013

Press Release from Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

It’s official: Tower Hamlets has NO CASE TO ANSWER on electoral fraud.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman and Tower Hamlets Council vindicated after Electoral Commission finds “insufficient evidence” to back opposition claims of widespread deception

Mayor Lutfur Rahman today praised Tower Hamlets’ electoral safeguards as “robust and highly effective” after an Electoral Commission report into allegations of widespread electoral fraud in by-elections in April and May 2012 were found to be groundless.

Opposition councillors made an astonishing 154 separate allegations of which 151 were dismissed entirely and only 3 offered grounds for concern. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police found that there was “insufficient evidence to prove an offence” had been committed on any of these.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “These allegations were nothing less than a systematic attempt to discredit our robust and highly effective electoral safeguards. The Electoral Commission report is a vindication for this administration and the excellent council officers who impartially administer the electoral process in Tower Hamlets.”

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In view of the announcement of the final ward boundaries for the borough, here is a Press Release detailing the arrangements.

Press Release                                             
From Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

For immediate release – 25 Mar. 2013

Historic ward names SAVED after Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s lobbying

Boundary Commission to keep Banglatown on the ward map, along with historic St Dunstan’s and Lansbury wards.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England today announced their final report on the new electoral arrangements for Tower Hamlets Council.

Following months of lobbying by Mayor Lutfur Rahman, including submissions to the Boundary Commission and the Secretary of State, as well has helping local people to coordinate petitions, the Boundary Commission has rejected Tory proposals to airbrush East End history by removing the name “Banglatown” from the Spitalfields and Banglatown ward.

Following the announcement Mayor Lutfur Rahman, said:

“I’m delighted that the Commission has seen sense and rejected these divisive proposals and reinstated Banglatown on the electoral map. I’m proud to have led a campaign that has seen local people standing together to defend the modern inclusive borough that we take pride in. I’m grateful to everyone who has supported us. This is truly a victory for community spirit.”

“I am equally pleased that the historic contribution of East End and Labour movement icon, George Lansbury, has been reinstated along with St Dunstan’s – a name that means so much to Stepney residents I could never understand why the Labour group sought to get rid of it.’’

Cllr. Gulam Robbani, Independent Councillor for Spitalfields and Banglatown, who spearheaded the Save Banglatown Campaign, said:

“I am grateful for the support local residents, community groups and the business community have given to our successful campaign to save Banglatown. Cllr. Golds and the Tories may not want to admit it but British-Bangladeshis are part of this borough’s history and we will be part of its future too.”

Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, Deputy Mayor and ward Councillor for East India and Lansbury, has led the campaign to reinstate the name of Labour movement icon and former party leader George Lansbury. Cllr. Ahmed said: “George Lansbury was a dedicated campaigner for social justice and I’m glad that his legacy will continue to be honoured on the map of Tower Hamlets.”

The Commission’s final recommendations also includes Tower Hamlets to be represented by 45 councillors, six fewer than the current arrangements of 51. The proposed new arrangements will now be implemented by Parliament before the new electoral arrangements to come into force for the 2014 council elections.

Ends

Notes to editors:

1.         Full details of the Commission’s final recommendations (including maps) can be viewed at  www.lgbce.org.uk/all-reviews/south-east/greater-london/tower-hamlets-fer Or at consultation.lgbce.org.uk

2.         Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s submissions and representations:

Representation to Boundary Commission to reinstate Banglatown, St Dunstan’s, and Lansbury:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/mayor_polparty_fr-2013-01-07.pdf

https://mayorlutfurrahman.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/local-gov-boundary-commission-response5.pdf

Letter to Boundary Commission to reinstate Banglatown:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/rahman2_mayor_s_and_b-2012-11-19.pdf

Letter and Save Banglatown Petition to Boundary Commission:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/petition_banglatown_2013-01-02.pdf

Letter to Boundary Commission to reinstate Lansbury:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/rahman_mayor_lans-2012-11-19.pdf

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/petition_banglatown_2013-01-02.pdf

Letter and Save Lansbury Petition to Boundary Commission:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/draft-recs/petition_lansbury_2013-01-02.pdf

Mayor’s Boundary Commission Submission:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/info-gath/mayor_towerhamlets_infogath_2012-09-11.pdf

3.      Labour Group’s Submission where they propose to delete St Dunstan’s:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/info-gath/labourgroup_towerhamlets_infogath_2012-09-11.pdf

Labour Group acknowledge Mayor leadership for Save Banglatown Campaign but fail to condemn the Tories:

On 15 November 2012, in an interview with satellite TV channel Channel S (Sky 814), Cllr. Motin uz Zaman, the deputy leader of Tower Hamlets Labour group, whilst acknowledging the leadership of Mayor Lutfur Rahman for Save Banglatown Campaign; fails to condemn the Tories who want to wipe Banglatown off the map.

4.      Tory Submission where they propose to delete Banglatown and Lansbury:

http://www.lgbce.org.uk/__documents/lgbce/submissions/tower-hamlets/info-gath/conservativegroup_towerhamlets_infogath_2012-09-11.pdf

‘Same old Tories’: On 22 November 2012, Cllr. Peter Golds, Leader of Tower Hamlets Conservative Group said in an interview with satellite TV station Channel S (Sky 814):

“What will happen if every single tiny group in the country suddenly decides they want their local government ward named after it? What are we going to have, Earls Court and Kangaroo Valley for the Australians?”
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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Well done Labour rebels!

Congratulations to the forty four rebel Labour MPs for voting against the Government’s Jobseekers’ Bill. The decision of the Parliamentary Labour Party, and in particular, the Shadow Minister responsible, Liam Byrne, to abstain on that vote was a disgrace. It is wrong that the unemployed should be forced to work for nothing except what pittance they get in benefits. And it is wrong that these schemes are being used by employers as a charter to exploit unpaid labour. The Government’s workfare schemes have everything to do with fixing the unemployment figures and very little to do with providing valuable job skills and experience. In my experience people on Job Seekers Allowance are desperate to find work. This government needs to be providing them with proper training and jobs, rather than punishing them.

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Press release

Tower Hamlets Councillor wins award for borough’s clean streets

Councillor Shahed Ali , Cabinet Member for Environment, has won a prestigious award at the fourth annual Improvement and Efficiency Awards held by iESE (Improvement, Efficiency, Social Enterprise) for the improvement and maintenance of the cleanliness of Tower Hamlets’ streets. Cllr Ali’s award comes hot on the heels of the Council winning a ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ award for the cleanest streets in the UK .

The Tower Hamlets Councillor received a silver award for Transforming Local Services after impressing the judging panel with his clear leadership and innovation during the lead up to the Olympic Games, which included the introduction of more frequent street bin collections during the Games.
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A new vision for Whitechapel

Press Release                                             

Mayor Lutfur Rahman ’s new vision for Whitechapel

Famed for its colourful history and cultural buzz, Whitechapel is about to embark on an unprecedented transformation

Last night (11 March 2013), Mayor Lutfur Rahman launched ‘Whitechapel Vision’ – an exciting project that will build on these changes and local aspirations to take this famous part of the City’s borders into the future, with residents at the heart of the plans

Working with international and award-winning urban design practice BDP, Tower Hamlets Council will kick-start this project by producing a new master plan for Whitechapel.

Produced in consultation with local residents and key stakeholders in the area, the masterplan will help develop Whitechapel as a new and vibrant area for  London that will not only retain existing business and the bustling market, but attract new investors.

Over the coming months, BDP will be inviting local stakeholders – residents, businesses, the local hospital and university, places of worship, housing providers and landowners – to share their ideas and aspirations for the area, so that all bodies work collaboratively to produce a cohesive and deliverable master plan for the area.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman the driving force behind the project, said: “Whitechapel Vision is about initiating change for the benefit of residents, businesses, and visitors in the area.

“We’re really excited that the arrival of Crossrail will mean Whitechapel is better connected to stations like Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, and more accessible to counties further afield.

“This project will help us elevate Whitechapel, bring in investment and showcase what the area has to offer the rest of London, and beyond.”

BDP was selected following a competitive tender process which attracted submissions from a number of the country’s leading architectural and urban design practices.

It was chosen on the basis of its excellent experience and international reputation, and success in delivering similar masterplan projects, including for the Liverpool One scheme.

Nick Edwards, Urbanism Director at BDP, said: “We are extremely privileged to have been selected to work with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the local community and other stakeholders to deliver a new vision for Whitechapel.

“Due to our continuing work on Whitechapel’s much anticipated Crossrail station, we already have a close connection with the area and look forward to utilising our extensive experience of delivering similar successful urban regeneration projects to help unlock Whitechapel’s potential.

Ends

Note to Editors

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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As a Labour party member, I found the first budget meeting an embarrassing spectacle. Outgoing Labour Group Leader Joshua Peck spoke of runaway spending and black holes in the budget: rhetoric we hear every day from George Osborne attacking the Labour Party, as he proposed to put money earmarked for the elderly and disabled back into the reserves.

More here.

 

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Poplar Baths to get £36m redevelopment

Plans to create a brand new leisure facility, state of the art youth centre and much needed council homes can now be progressed, following a ‘Contract Close’ last week (1 March).

Poplar Baths – a Grade II listed building that was once home to a well-used swimming pool – sits opposite Chrisp Street Market, Poplar and has fallen into disrepair since the pool was closed in 1988.

In the run up to his election in 2010, Mayor Lutfur Rahman pledged to restore Poplar Baths to their former glory, and to create additional homes and a new youth centre on the nearby site where the former Dame Colet House and Haileybury youth centre currently sit.

Marking stage one of the £36 million scheme, the ‘contract close’ means Tower Hamlets Council has entered a development agreement with developer Guildmore Ltd, and detailed design and planning applications can be drawn up and submitted for approval. Stage 2 of the scheme, ‘Financial Close’, will then take place pending planning permission, before construction work can start on site.

Lutfur Rahman , Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Bringing Poplar Baths to its former glory for the community is something I’ve been committed to for a long time. I’m delighted that we’ve signed this agreement to kick-start the transformation. This scheme will provide something for everyone – 100 new homes, state of the art leisure and youth facilities in an accessible location for residents, and training and employments opportunities for local people.”

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Recently the Children’s Society presented a petition to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, signed by over 90,000 people, asking that all children in poverty be given free school meals. Here in Tower Hamlets, we haven’t had to wait for a petition to be handed in. For I am able to announce that from this September, all pupils in Reception and Year 1 in Tower Hamlets Schools, (Maintained, Academies and Free Schools) will be eligible for a free school meal. This initiative will provide a free school meal to around 3,943 extra pupils.

More here.

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