Archive for May, 2013

Cash-strapped teenagers in Tower Hamlets who want to go to university are set to benefit from a £1.26million grant announced by the borough’s mayor. As part of the scheme, called the Mayor’s Higher Eduction Award, 400 students will each receive £1,500. The scheme will run over two years. Tower Hamlets is the first council in the country to launch a higher education grant programme of this scale.



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“Following yesterday’s appalling murder in our neighbouring borough of Greenwich, we have today met with police chiefs, senior local authority staff and community and faith leaders to discuss their concerns and re-double our efforts to work together to ensure community cohesion across our borough.

 Obviously we are all as deeply shocked as everyone else and hope that we shall never again witness such terrible scenes in our country.

We are all deeply concerned that far Right extremists in the English Defence League may seek to exploit the situation further. The Mayor has written to both the Home Secretary and the Chief of the Metropolitan Police, setting out our concerns, and reminding them when the EDL last attempted to march through our borough, they were prevented from doing so.

The Police Borough Commander has assured us that there will be an increased police presence across the borough and around key institutions.

The attack carried out near Woolwich Barracks has shocked us all, and we are determined that this senseless act is not used by others as an excuse to ferment trouble elsewhere.

Clearly the perpetrators have since been arrested and the matter is now under police investigation.

We would urge calm and reassure all residents that maintaining harmony in our diverse communities is our top priority.

Once again, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim of this shocking act.”

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Father Alan Green, Chair, Interfaith Forum, and No Place for Hate, Tower Hamlets

Shamsul Hoque, Chair, Council of Mosques, Tower Hamlets

Shaun De Souza Brady, Acting Borough Commander, Metropolitan Police

Neil Jameson, Director, London CitizensDilowar Khan, Director, London Muslim Centre

Glyn Robbins, Chair, United East End

Jack Gilbert, Chair, Rainbow Hamlets

Leon Silver, President, East London Central Synagogue

Shaynul Khan, CVS Tower Hamlets

Abu Bakr , Al-Huda Somali Centre


For more info contact
Tower Hamlets Press Office
Tower Hamlets
Email:  communications@towerhamlets.gov.uk


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Collections will be made across council sites on Friday, May 17 for those affected by the deaths of over 900 workers in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

These deaths, caused by the collapse of a building which housed garment factories making clothes for Primark, Matalan, Mango and other major brands, has caused shock and anger across the world.

Tower Hamlets Joint Trade Unions and the Mayor have joined forces in partnership with War on Want, to establish a fund to show solidarity with the garment workers.

War on Want have been working for many years with the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) in Bangladesh to campaign for improved safety standards in clothing factories there.

Please show your support by donating generously and by supporting the petition launched by Amirul Haque Amin, President National Garment Workers Federation NGWF and co-ordinated in Britain by War on Want to demand that UK high street brands take responsibility for this tragedy by paying full compensation to the workers and their families and commit to action to ensure disasters like this become a thing of the past. The petition can be downloaded here .



Statement on Bangladesh
From Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets 

For immediate release – 25 April 2013

Mayor Lutfur Rahman urges urgent action to protect garment workers in Bangladesh

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, has issued the following statement on the Bangladesh factory collapse tragedy.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said:

“My thoughts, prayers and deep condolences are with the victims and their families who were killed or injured by the collapse of the garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

This tragic incident once again highlighted the serious concerns about the conditions and poor safety standards that many garment factories operate in Bangladesh.

Over 300 garment workers have been killed with hundreds more injured or missing. The figures are likely to rise as the full scale of the tragedy unfolds. This is a human tragedy that was entirely avoidable.

Multi-national firms operating in countries like Bangladesh, have a corporate social and moral responsibility, to ensure that they work with factory owners and the authorities to improve working conditions and prevent further tragedies.

I call on the authorities in Bangladesh to work more closely with workers, trade unions, factory owners and multi-nationals operating in Bangladesh, to do everything possible to improve safety standards and protect the safety of factory workers in the country.

I also urge the authorities in Bangladesh to investigate the circumstances surrounding this tragedy; find ways to compensate the victims and their families; and ensure that those found responsible for any negligent for these deaths, face full force of the law.”


Notes to Editors

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

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Remembering Thomas Rainsborough

On Sunday 12th May at St John’s Churchyard, Wapping a commemorative plaque was unveiled to Thomas Rainsborough (1610 – 1648) a prominent figure in the English Civil War, a colonel in the New Model Army and the leading spokesman for the Levellers in the Putney Debates in which he spoke up for universal male suffrage.

Over a hundred people saw the plaque unveiled by Tony Benn who spoke of the inspiration he had gained from the work of the Levellers, he movingly spoke of the need for every generation to stand up for our rights lest we lose them.

Cllr Rania Khan, Cabinet Member for Culture was there for the occasion and also spoke along with Jeremy Corbyn MP (Islington North), John Rees and Brian Nicholson of the Stepney Historical Society.

The event was also attended by a small Leveller contingent of the Sealed Knot who paraded the churchyard and fired a musket volley in Rainsborough’s honour. The Sealed Knot is a British historical association and charity, dedicated to costumed re-enactment of battles and events surrounding the English Civil War.

I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly. Sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.” Thomas Rainsborough at the Putney Debates, 1647.

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Latest Guardian interview

What made you want to work in local governmentTower Hamlets has been part of my life for a long time; I went to secondary school here, and grew up here with kids from all backgrounds. I have received so much from the area: I am what I am because of Tower Hamlets and what public services contributed to me and my family. My father came here in the 50s and my mother in the late 60s. I am really grateful for the services I have received and I want to give back to a community that has given so much to me.


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Cable Street launch 3

A new community centre in Tower Hamlets – to help people in one of the most deprived areas of the UK with employment and welfare issues – was opened on Monday in a unique partnership bringing together the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Unite, the country’s largest union, and Barclay’s Bank.

The centre is based at the iconic St Georges Town Hall, Cable Street E1 OBL.

The centre, which will be open five days-a-week between 10.00 -18.00, will provide new training and job seeking skills, welfare advice, cultural activities and has a state of the art learning suite.

The centre will offer various educational courses, such as IT skills and offer assistance to find employment, from creating a CV to interview preparation. Centre staff will also advise on the growing number of welfare and benefit issues in London’s second most deprived borough.

Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman; Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey; and Group Employment Director for Barclays, Dominic Johnson spoke at the opening ceremony.

Len McCluskey said: “We are near what were once the great London docks, which until the late sixties, employed tens of thousands of dockers.

“But times have changed. Tower Hamlets has changed. The dockers have been replaced by finance workers in Canary Wharf. But alongside the wealth of this global finance centre is great poverty.

“That is why this centre is needed and that is why our partnership with the mayor of Tower Hamlets and Barclays Bank will provide a vital resource to the local communities.”

Lutfur Rahman said: “I am delighted to be working closely with Len McCluskey, Unite and Barclays Bank in making this community centre a reality.

Job creation is one of my top priorities and this centre is going to play an important role in helping people find work.

I am particularly pleased to be working in partnership with Unite. As the recent terrible tragedies in the garment industry in Bangladesh have shown, and as the struggle of workers to be organised in the old sweatshops here in the East End have also demonstrated, trade unions play a critical role in ensuring people enjoy safety, security and fulfilment at work’.

Dominic Johnson said: “Barclays is pleased to be supporting the creation of this valuable new centre, which we hope will help people across the borough find pathways into work through new learning opportunities.

“It is important that Barclays plays a broader role in the communities in which we live and work, beyond what we deliver through our core business activities, such as supporting projects like this and our existing educational and employment support programmes such as LifeSkills and Barclays Spaces for Sports.”


Photo (l-r) Liane Groves, chairperson of the community centre steering group; Dominic Johnson, group employment director from Barclays; Unite general secretary Len McCluskey and the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman deliver speeches at the opening ceremony.
For further Information please contact Numan Hussain DL: 020 7364 7108 / Mob: 07508 352 023

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UKIP gains cannot be ignored

Although there were no local elections in London last week, there is no doubt that the political map in England has been changed by the surge in support for the UK Independence Party. It would be foolish to dismiss the anger many ordinary voters feel for the established political parties. All too many people feel powerless as their jobs disappear, and as bankers award themselves ever larger bonuses.


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