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Archive for February, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE

FROM CLLR. ANWAR KHAN, BOW WEST WARD, TOWER HAMLETS

27 February 2014 – for immediate release

 Tower Hamlets Labour party rocked after latest infighting during Council budget meeting

 Councillor Anwar Khan speaks out against “diseased political culture” in Tower Hamlets Labour party.

 At the budget meeting last night (26 February) Labour councillor Anwar Khan delivered a damning verdict on the “amateurish” and “embarrassing” alternative budget proposed by his fellow Labour Councillors as well as hitting out at the culture of intimidation and harassment rife in the party.

Khan, a City professional born and brought up in Tower Hamlets, said that he returned from a business trip to find that mayoral candidate John Biggs had imposed a thinly disguised election buy-off as the party’s budget strategy for the 2014/15 financial year. Labour’s majority on the Council means the party can block the budget proposals of Directly Elected Mayor Lutfur Rahman and force a second meeting.

 Cllr Anwar Khan said:

“The power of blocking a budget is there to prevent serious mismanagement, not to play politics with less than 0.05 per cent of our £1.2bn budget.”

“Last year we were whipped to pull big sums out of services and into reserves but now that John Biggs needs electing it seems there’s cash to spend. And the proposals were laughable. Free school meals funded for two school terms – with funding falling short by over £1m or delaying the relocation of the town hall to Whitechapel when Mulberry Place costs £6m a year rent. I represent some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK during a time of recession and cuts, I couldn’t vote for such terrible policies.”

Cllr Khan’s attempt to speak out was rudely interrupted when former Labour Leader Cllr. Joshua Peck forcibly disconnected Cllr Khan’s microphone in full view of the residents, members and officers present. A public example, Cllr. Khan said, of an established culture of bulling and abusive behaviour amongst Labour councillors.

 Cllr Khan said:

“I tried to speak on behalf of my constituents and I was forcefully silenced. If the former Leader of the Labour Group thinks he can behave like that in the Council Chamber, imagine what goes on behind closed doors. There’s a diseased culture in Tower Hamlets Labour Party, bullying and intimidation are rife and any Bangladeshi who doesn’t know their place is reminded quickly and ruthlessly.”

 ENDS

 NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. Cllr. Anwar Khan’s CV:

Councillor Anwar Khan was elected in 2010 in the ward of Bow West, winning a conservative seat from Anwara Ali, a local GP. He has lived in Tower Hamlets all his life, went to Osmani Primary School, Swanlea School. He studied in Newham Sixth Form and later achieved his undergraduate degree in Cass Business School, and has a Masters in Global Politics. Anwar lives in Spitalfields with his family, and works in the financial services industry in the City of London. He has served in Shadow Cabinet in all years, including holding the role of Shadow Cabinet Member for Resources and is currently the Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Regeneration and Employment.  Anwar was the Chief Whip for the first 3 years, one of the longest serving Chief Whips to date. During his term he has also served as the Chairman of the Pensions Committee.

Issued by Councillor Anwar Khan, Bow West

For queries Cllr. Khan can be  contacted on 07903 016 965 or email  anwar.khan@ymail.com

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A group of individuals calling themselves ‘Christian Patrol’ returned to Brick Lane, Spitalfields and Banglatown last night distributing leaflets.

This group have no other intention other than to provoke community tension by distributing provocative and offensive leaflets.

I can reassure the community that the council, police and our partners are taking this latest incident extremely seriously.

I echo the statement of the Rt. Rev. Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney; there is no place for vigilante patrols on the streets of Tower Hamlets, there is no place for hatred in Tower Hamlets.

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John Biggs is desperate to get elected. So desperate that he’ll knock down any of the borough’s achievements despite the national and international recognition we’ve gained.

In the last 3 years Tower Hamlets has received £50m in “New Homes Bonus” cash from the government- more than any other local authority- and topped every league table for house building. But Biggs is insulting the intelligence of local people by claiming we’ve only built 15 homes – not 4000.

That’s a big difference so how does he come to this figure? Simple, he moves the goalposts and applies a different definition of “housebuilding” to Tower Hamlets than that used by the whole of the rest of the country. He doesn’t attack Newham, who boast about building 2,000 new homes by the same measure we use, or even Mayor Boris Johnson who has aspirations to build 150,000 affordable homes across London.

But I am proud of my administration’s record when it comes to house building. These 4,000 homes were delivered because my administration took the policy decisions that made sure they were built – that’s what politicians are supposed to do – and we’ve delivered the most affordable homes in the UK by sticking to our 35 – 50 per cent target.

By playing with numbers instead of engaging in the more demanding job of actually delivering, Biggs has shown what kind of politician he is – all spin and no substance, willing to say whatever he needs to get into power and with no idea what to do once he gets there.

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East Enders – Facing A Washout?

As another record-breaking storm heads to our shores, East Enders are appalled by the flood damage in the rest of the country, but we are also aware that the East End of London is one huge flood plain. Thanks to the huge public sector investment in the Thames Barrier, inaugurated under Ken Livingston’s administration, we have some measure of protection. That is just as well, since not only homes, but huge investments in the financial and technical sector in London’s docklands would be at risk if it were not there.

In contrast, while the head of the government’s Environment Agency is a “Climate Change Sceptic,”  even more dangerous is that he represents a government that is skeptical about the value of public investment. The floods are not just a product of climate change, they are also the result of a conservative climate of opinion that sees cuts as the solution to all problems. The Environment Agency reduced the dredging programme.

Tower Hamlets will do what it can, but with the accelerating pace of Climate Change, we need to look to the future and invest more in  our infrastructure to prepare for the eventuality of floods and pre-emptive planning to lower the risks to our homes and jobs.

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The brutal murder of four year old Daniel Pelka by his mother and stepfather underlines once again the responsibility of statutory agencies in protecting our most vulnerable. A new report has found that problems in sharing information between such agencies led to a failure to protect Daniel. Tower Hamlets Council is acting to improve our child protection services. That’s why we have launched the new Tower Hamlets Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub. Its purpose is to improve cooperation between local agencies involved in child protection by bringing them into a single team, under one roof, in order to better protect children at risk in our borough. More

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It appears that our local media will just print any old rubbish from Labour Mayoral hopeful, John Biggs. He now claims that the council are planning to introduce a ‘12 O’clock curfew’ on restaurants in Brick Lane. This is simply untrue. I was pleased to reassure Brick Lane restaurant owners on this issue personally when I met with them yesterday. Contrary to what the Labour party claim, it’s business as usual for Brick Lane. The area is London’s curry capital and a vital hub for the local economy. My officers are working closely with the traders to see how we can provide additional support and boost businesses.

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Tower Hamlets Lead Member for Housing, Cllr Rabina Khan today hit back at Labour Mayoral hopeful John Biggs who has criticised the council for placing 94 families in short-term Bed and Breakfast accommodation as an alternative to shipping them out of the borough. The move is an emergency response to the Tory benefit cap, a policy Labour have refused to distance themselves from.

Cllr Khan said:

In October last year, Labour attacked us with the false claim that the Mayor was planning to secretly ship families out of the borough. Now they’re attacking us for not shipping families out of the borough.  Am I happy that we’ve had to choose the lesser of twoevils? Absolutely not. But the benefit cap has left us a stark choice – use B&Bs or uproot people from their homes.”

Cllr Khan also hit back at claims that the move was unlawful:

“This is an emergency measure, and if John Biggs wants to take us to court to force us to eject families from their communities he’s very welcome.”

(more…)

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