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One year after the devastating Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, Labour councillors have reiterated their call for more focus on ethical procurement.

The factory collapse on the 24th April last year killed over 1,000 garment workers and injured countless more.

The public outcry led to calls for clothing retailers to increase standards at their factories. Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets, a borough with close links to Bangladesh, called for those responsible to be held to account whilst proposing steps the council could take to improve its procurement processes.

A year on and Labour say there is more to be done, with John Biggs, the Labour candidate in the upcoming Mayoral elections, saying that he would always encourage others, including schools in the borough, to ensure their procurement processes prioritise ethical sources.

Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam, said:

“The Rana Plaza disaster hit home how important it is to shop ethically. Whether as an individual or a big organisation like a council ethical procurement makes a real difference.

“Everyone has an opportunity to make a little difference whether by changing their shopping habits or encouraging retailers to up the standards at their factories. Whatever happens the Rana Plaza disaster must not be forgotten.”

Labour Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

"The rapid growth of the Bangladesh economy is helping lift millions out of poverty but it needs better accountability. If anything good comes out of disasters it is in the resolve that we must never allow such things to happen again. One of the ways British people can help is by using our unique cultural and business connections to make sure this is the case."

‘Rana Plaza disaster must not be forgotten’ say Labour councillors

One year after the devastating Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, Labour councillors have reiterated their call for more focus on ethical procurement. The factory collapse on the 24th...

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Labour mayoral candidate John Biggs has won backing from across the shadow Cabinet for his radical programme to clean up politics in Tower Hamlets and deliver more jobs and better public services for the borough.

Senior Labour MPs, including shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh, have joined forces with longstanding local residents to provide a powerful endorsement of John Biggs’ policies to boost housing, transport, education and prosperity locally.

Last week John launched his manifesto with pledges to provide free school meals for every primary-age pupil, set up a 24hr anti-social behaviour helpline and build 1,000 council homes.

Unveiling the slate of endorsements Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “Local residents along with Senior Labour Shadow Cabinet Ministers and Shadow Ministers are supporting John Biggs because he has a track record of standing up for the East End. He is a man of integrity who has spent a lifetime campaigning and working for all the different communities that make up this borough. That is why I believe he will be the best person to unite the east end and deliver for local residents.”

Ed Balls, Labour’s shadow Chancellor, said: “The Tory-led government has created a cost-of-living crisis that is hitting areas like Tower Hamlets the hardest.  A Labour council, led by John Biggs as Mayor, is essential to stand up for local people and create jobs and economic growth in the borough.”

Mary Creagh, shadow Transport Secretary, said: “John Biggs has an outstanding record in securing public transport improvements in the East End.  This, and his commitment to road safety and cycling, will make him an excellent champion for Tower Hamlets as Mayor.”

The list of shadow cabinet includes endorsements is as follows:

  • Rt Hon Ed Balls MP, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Mary Creagh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
  • Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Rachel Reeves, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

John’s campaign is winning increasing support from people in Tower Hamlets, following the launch of his mayoral manifesto last week, which outlined how he will provide a more transparent and accountable type of politics and make the borough a safer, cleaner and more affordable place to live.

Other backers from across the borough include Eileen Champion, a centenarian who has lived in the East End all her life, and Aftab Uddin, from Poplar, who is training to be a police community support officer.

John Biggs, Labour’s candidates for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “I am delighted that so many people, from local residents to members of the shadow Cabinet, have added their support to my campaign. Tower Hamlets needs a Mayor who can work with Labour nationally to fight the Tory-led government and get a better deal for the borough.”

Sirajul Islam, Labour group leader, said: “Local people and Labour MPs are backing John Biggs because his focus is on delivering more homes, more jobs, cleaner streets and cleaner politics for Tower Hamlets, rather than being distracted by feuds and investigations like Lutfur Rahman.”

Last week John launched his manifesto in Tower Hamlets with the support of actor, comedian and charity fundraiser Eddie Izzard.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet members and local residents back mayoral candidate John Biggs to unite the East End and deliver better services to residents

Labour mayoral candidate John Biggs has won backing from across the shadow Cabinet for his radical programme to clean up politics in Tower Hamlets and deliver more jobs and better...

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Labour encourage residents to sign their petition against the closures

Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets have launched a new campaign to save five of the deprived borough’s GP surgeries after it was revealed the surgeries face closure as a result of new Government cuts.

The Government changes to the NHS GP funding formula mean that money has been taken out of mitigating the health impacts of poverty is instead being allocated to rural areas. In total 98 practices in deprived areas at risk of closure, 5 of them in Tower Hamlets.  The move comes despite Tower Hamlets having the fastest growing population in the country and many serious health inequalitie

Labour’s mayoral candidate John Biggs and Labour councillors have launched a petition against the closures and are encouraging residents across the borough to sign up.

The Jubilee Street Practice in Shadwell, among the five practices in Tower Hamlets that are of risk of closure along with a further 12 practices in neighbouring Hackney. Speaking to the Guardian, Dr Naomi Beer, a GP at the Jubilee Street Practice said, "Give it a year and I think we will have to close" whilst the practice manager, Virginia Patania, said "We are now eating into practice savings to continue providing a quality service. But we are planning for a 'red button day' when we will have to dissolve the practice.”

Labour’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Rachael Saunders, said:

“Over the last few years the Tories have closed most of our borough’s police stations, cut the number of fire stations and now they are coming after the local NHS. We will oppose these closures at every stage to make sure that residents are not left without access to the local health services they deserve.

“With the fastest growing population in the country and high levels of need the idea the Government wants to close GP surgeries in Tower Hamlets is extraordinary" 

Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:

“With long waits for appointments already a fact of life for many, any cuts will further reduce residents access to healthcare. And in a borough with such a concentration of long-term health problems this is an outrage. As Mayor I would fight tooth and nail against these kind of ideological Tory NHS cuts”

Tory cuts put 5 Tower Hamlets GP surgeries at risk of closure

  Labour encourage residents to sign their petition against the closures Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets have launched a new campaign to save five of the deprived borough’s GP surgeries...

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