Latest Stories

Mayor John Biggs' second budget was passed by the council last night with a clear majority voting to support his "progressive and compassionate" budget.

The Mayor's three year budget protects funding for all of the borough's libraries, leisure centres, children's centres and Idea Stores as well as for Tower Hamlets' award winning parks. It also continues funding for all primary school pupils to receive free school meals and the 100% council tax discount for the poorest residents.

Tory government cuts of £58m mean a challenging time for council finances. In the recent Budget consultation of over 1,600 residents, 55% of people told us they wanted the council to be more efficient. As a result well over half of the savings will come from making council services run more cost effectively – for example, saving over £11m a year by improving procurement, debt management, and treasury management and another £12m by spending less on central support services by 2020.

As a result the Mayor is able to invest in priority areas for residents including new investment in roads and neighbourhoods, extra funding to tackle air pollution, 1,000 additional apprenticeships and a new £5m Tackling Poverty Fund.

The Mayor hit out at opposition councillors for their proposed amendments to his budget after Cllr Rabina Khan's group proposed cutting the funding for Free School Meals, children's centres and apprenticeships.

This is the second Budget that Mayor John Biggs has passed with the majority of councillors supporting it on its first meeting, something Lutfur Rahman didn't achieve once.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

"The Tory cuts are hammering local government hard with Tower Hamlets having to make £58m of savings in the next three years as a result.

"By focusing on making council services more efficient we have been able to protect frontline services. Our parks, libraries, leisure centres, children’s centres, Idea Stores, free school meals, council tax reduction scheme are all valued by residents and all protected by this progressive and compassionate Labour budget."

Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets Cllr Sirajul Islam said:

"Mayor Biggs' budget is a victory for residents. It protects key services like free school meals, parks, Idea Stores and community languages and invests in important areas like ESOL and apprenticeships helping residents to get into employment.

"In contrast the opposition proposals would have cut funding for free school meals, waste collection and tackling poverty – that is a disgrace."

Council Votes for ‘Progressive and Compassionate’ Budget

Mayor John Biggs' second budget was passed by the council last night with a clear majority voting to support his "progressive and compassionate" budget. The Mayor's three year budget protects...

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday wrote to Poplar Harca’s Chief Executive setting out proposals to save around 50 one and two bedroom social homes after it emerged they had been put up for auction by the Housing Association.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday wrote to Poplar Harca’s Chief Executive setting out proposals to save around 50 one and two bedroom social homes after it emerged they had been put up for auction by the Housing Association.

The letter sets out two proposals to allow the homes, which are currently vacant, to stay in public sector hands and to be bought back into use for social housing. There are fears that an auction on the open market would attract private investors looking to rent the flats at unaffordable rent.

Writing in the letter Mayor Biggs said:

“I am writing to strongly urge you to withdraw all the homes currently up for auction and engage in discussions to sell these 50 homes to the council.

“I am particularly annoyed that the first news we had of these homes being put up for auction was reading the auction notices, and that there was no courtesy of a written correspondence with the council.”

The options proposed by the Mayor would either see the council using the properties as much needed temporary accommodation for homeless families; or alternatively buying the properties outright to allow them to remain in public ownership.

Commenting on the letter Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:

“I’m deeply disappointed by Poplar Harca’s decision to sell these homes and the fact they didn’t even bother to tell the council about their plans in advance.

“I have written to their Chief Executive urging them to call off the auction and discuss other options with us, including the possibility of the council stepping in to buy the properties.

“With thousands of families on our housing waiting list Tower Hamlets needs more affordable homes, not less. These properties were built to be council homes, and with such high need in our borough, its only right they stay that way.”

Mayor proposes plan to save Poplar Harca social homes from auction

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets yesterday wrote to Poplar Harca’s Chief Executive setting out proposals to save around 50 one and two bedroom social homes after it emerged they had...

Mayor tells Prime Minister that Trump not welcome in Tower Hamlets

President Donald Trump should not be allowed to visit London until he has reversed and apologised for his policies which unfairly ban people from predominantly Muslim countries, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has said.

The Mayor pointed to Tower Hamlets’ long standing pledge that the borough has “No Place for Hate” saying that until President Trump renounced his “divisive” views the borough would have “No Place for Trump”.

Writing to the Prime Minister about the potential state visit by the President later this year, Mayor John Biggs said:

“From the Blackshirts and the Battle of Cable St 80 years ago to the all too recent Britain First and EDL rallies, many hate filled groups have sought to sow discontent in our borough. They are all groups who, like Mr Trump, seek to demonise entire communities on the basis of their race, religion or ethnicity. We have opposed them all as we will oppose any other who seeks to divide us.

“Whatever you decide I write to ask that any visit from Mr Trump skips Tower Hamlets. Whilst you might think it acceptable to give him the royal treatment, we stick by our beliefs and we have ‘No Place for Hate.’”

Commenting further on President Trump’s potential visit Mayor John Biggs said:

“In the East End we know how to stand up to those who peddle hate, division and bigoted views. The Prime Minister should take our lead and withdraw the offer of a state visit until President Trump accepts we will not support showing respect to someone who does not respect others.

“In Tower Hamlets we have a vibrant multi-cultural community and we are the better and stronger for it. Trump’s policies of division will achieve nothing but breed more hatred and anger.

“I have written to the Prime Minister to make clear that Tower Hamlets has absolutely No Place for Hate. Until he renounces and apologises for his policies unfairly targeting Muslims and refugees that means Tower Hamlets has absolutely No Place for Trump."

“No Place for Hate” means Tower Hamlets is ‘No Place for Trump’ says Mayor

Mayor tells Prime Minister that Trump not welcome in Tower Hamlets President Donald Trump should not be allowed to visit London until he has reversed and apologised for his policies...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.