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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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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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Press Release

Mayor Lutfur Rahman warns Tower Hamlets Labour Group; ‘Don’t do Tories job for them, forcing cuts while blocking our budget’

Labour Group leader urges costly closure of popular ‘ East End Life’ newspaper – despite having been one of its greatest supporters!

Rushed amendment agreed 48 hours before critical budget setting may result in £2.1m unnecessary extra costs to residents

Outgoing Tower Hamlets Labour Group leader, Joshua Peck, is today threatening to de-rail Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s budget, threatening jobs and services in the borough. His principal target is the financially self-supporting East End Life (EEL) newspaper, threatening nine full time jobs and depriving 83,000 regular readers of their weekly newspaper.

Joining with the Tories, Councillor Peck also wants to cut the Mayor’s support staff budget by half, despite the massive rise in casework caused by the Conservative Government’s assault on the poorest people and the most deprived areas of the country, including Tower Hamlets.

However, a series of basic errors in their proposal mean that the financial management reforms – a key plank of their strategy- can’t even be tabled at today’s meeting and that cutting East End Life could actually increase costs to residents.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “It is about time Councillor Peck decided which side he is on. Is he Labour, or is he simply a Tory in disguise? Just this week, Tower Hamlets joined with ten London Labour Councils across and signed a joint publishing deal for our council-run newspaper because it is the cheapest way to fulfil our legal duties in providing residents with information. Three years ago, Councillor Peck defended EEL to the hilt. Then it made heavy losses. Since I became Mayor, we have reduced costs by £500,000, and EEL is now totally self-supporting. To close it could actually raise costs by £2.1 million, as the council would be obliged to fulfil its legal obligations in different ways.’

Mayor Rahman continued; “Local residents and many traditional Labour supporters are increasingly appalled at that the way in which some Labour Councillors are happy to work hand in glove with the Tories national and locally.

My budget aims to build on our achievements. While other councils are slashing services, here in Tower Hamlets we haven’t closed a single library, children’s centre or youth club. We have kept free homecare, brought back free school meals, reinstated the Education Maintenance Allowance, introduced university grants; froze council tax for the fourth year and increased investment in the 3rd Sector. If Councillor Peck wants to support the Tories and block our budget, he has a lot of explaining to do to local residents.”

Ends

Note to Editors:

1. A 2011 review found the cost of statutory advertising such as ‘Housing Choice’ and the Council’s legal requirement to promote public health; equalities and social cohesion meant that axing EEL and using private advertising could raise costs by up to £2.1m. Councillor Peck has also failed to factor in redundancies and severance pay for job losses he’s proposed.

2. 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.

3. Deficit comparison with other London Boroughs:

Lambeth: projected £28.6m deficit in 2014-15, £25.7m in 2015/16

Click to access 05a%20Budget%20February%202013.pdf

Newham: no information on future deficits but £6m overspend in 2013/14

Click to access Initial%20Budget%20Proposals%20Cabinet%20Final.pdf

Hackney: £23m in savings for 2015/16 and no savings plan.

Click to access Budget_report_Feb_14%2025022013%20Cabinet.pdf

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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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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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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It’s official! Tower Hamlets is to receive the highest allocation of funding under the government’s New Homes Bonus scheme in 2013/14. This is because we are building more homes than any other authority. This great news for our borough comes in figures just released by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It proves that in spite of all the claims from Tower Hamlets Labour Party to the contrary, my promise to build more homes has, and is, being delivered – and that reality is now recognised by central Government.

(more…)

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Whitechapel fire crew

Press Release                                                           

Mayor Rahman joins Fire Brigade Union’s fight against Boris’ fire cuts

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, today joined members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) to protest against the proposed cuts to the borough’s fire stations. Mayor Rahman was joined by Paul Embery, regional secretary of the FBU and local fire crews.

 Speaking at the event Mayor Rahman said:

 ‘I am very concerned about plans to close Bow and Whitechapel fire stations. I fear that these proposals from Boris Johnson will cost lives.  That is why I have joined a public show of solidarity with the FBU to fight Boris’ proposed fire cuts’.

Ohid Ahmed, deputy mayor and cabinet member for community safety said: ‘Tower Hamlets has more fires than any other London borough and we need greater fire provision, not less as what Boris is proposing. We are committed to doing everything we can to stop these proposed cuts.’

Paul Embery of the FBU said: “We appreciate Mayor Rahman’s support for our campaign to save fire stations in Tower Hamlets. This is the biggest threat to the fire service since the Second World War. We are asking people to join with us against these fire cuts. There is a huge rally in central London on January 21st and I urge everyone to join us and sign our e-petition.”

(more…)

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Press Release                                       

Massive boost for 3rd Sector- Mayor pours £8.022m into community organisations to combat Tory-led cuts

Independent Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman today announced an £8.022m investment in the borough’s 3rd Sector, saying “at a time when Councils up and down the country see community groups as an easy target for savings, this administration is doing more than ever to invest in the small organisations that are the backbone of Tower Hamlets.”

(more…)

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There has been huge domestic and international interest in our decision to sell a much loved Henry Moore sculpture, ‘Old Flo’, that our borough bought many years ago – it wasn’t donated to us as press reports have erroneously claimed. We are not the first authority to explore raising much needed revenue at a time of austerity from selling works of art. Last year Bolton Council put up 30 five works of art to be sold, including works by Millais, Picasso and Hutchison. Back in 2006, Bury Council raised £1.4 million by selling LS Lowry’s A Riverbank. If only there was as much national media interest in the fact that we are being forced to make £100million cuts by 2015, as there has been over the proposed sale of this sculpture to mitigate the effect of some of those cuts.

More here

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Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission

Last night I attended the very successful launch of the Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission. The Commission will be chaired by Giles Fraser. You can read his hopes for the Commission here and more general information about the Commission here. Below is my speech to last night’s event.

Thank you for coming tonight to the launch of the Tower Hamlets Fairness Commission. A special thank you to our commissioners and to our chair, Giles. I am delighted we have brought together such a wide range of individuals, all of whom have enormous expertise. I have high expectations for this commission and rightly so. This feels like a crucial moment in the progress towards a fairer society. There has been no better moment to reassess our responsibilities and contributions to each other, both as individuals and organisations. I believe the work of the Commission will play a critical role in shaping the future of Tower Hamlets – a future which must now be shaped without many of the certainties we grew up with.

(more…)

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