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Labour candidate John Biggs has today committed to putting openness and transparency at the heart of his campaign to be the new Mayor of Tower Hamlets - saying for too long, people have been 'pushed out of the decision making process.'

With people's confidence and trust in the council damaged by the discredited rule of Lutfur Rahman, John Biggs is pledging to spend the first year of his Mayoral term attending ‘question time’ public meetings in different parts of the borough, while engaging directly with residents in new ways through the work of the council.

As part of his plan for more transparent and accountable leadership, John Biggs has made a number of commitments including:

  • The Mayor will answer questions in public, both at council meetings and at meetings in the community, while making sure Cabinet members do the same.
  • The Mayor will host a series of ‘question time’ events in different parts of the borough during his first year in office – taking questions directly from residents.
  • Depending on interest, Cabinet meetings beyond this will also be held at venues in the community, like schools – ensuring Cabinet members take questions from the public and get input from residents.
  • The Mayoral car will be scrapped, the size of the Mayor’s office will be reduced and the number of costly advisers employed under the ex-Mayor will be cut.

 John Biggs, Labour’s Mayoral candidate in Tower Hamlets commented:

“As much as anything, this election is about restoring people’s trust in our local politics. One of my first priorities as mayor will be to get out into the community to listen to people’s views and allow residents to question and scrutinise the decisions we’re making as a leadership team.

“For too much of the time under Lutfur Rahman, decisions were made behind closed doors, with people pushed out of the decision making process. We have to move on from the failings of the past by setting a better, higher standard for openness and transparency. 

"With my Cabinet colleagues, we’ll not only open up meetings at the council, but we’ll get beyond the corridors of the town hall, making decisions directly in front of the people we’re here to represent.”

John Biggs pledges better more transparent leadership

Labour candidate John Biggs has today committed to putting openness and transparency at the heart of his campaign to be the new Mayor of Tower Hamlets - saying for too...

Over a third of Londoners (34%) earn less than is needed to live on in London according to a new report from the Trust for London. The report found that costs from housing, public transport and childcare, which are particularly high in London Borough’s such as Tower Hamlets, were pushing more people into poverty. London Assembly Member John Biggs AM said the report shows the Mayor of London “needs to recognise the strain the rocketing cost of living has placed on Londoners.”

The report found that in Inner London boroughs, such as Tower Hamlets, it costs a single working-age adults 47% more to live compared with the rest of the UK. The difference is also stark for couples with two children costing them 22% more than the UK average. For pensioner couples the difference was 31%.

John Biggs AM said the report showed that the Mayor of London needed to do more to give Londoners a better quality of life by ensuring more people are paid London Living Wage and getting a grip on rising housing costs.

The Trust for London report is based on research gathered from members of the public in London on what they see as a ‘minimum income standard’ that can fulfil a ‘minimum socially acceptable standard of living’ which includes essential needs and participation in society.

Responding to the Trust for London report on the minimum cost of living in London, London Assembly Member for City & East London said:

“Runaway housing and childcare costs now mean well over a third of London families, including residents in Tower Hamlets, earn less than they need to live on in the capital.”

“The Mayor needs to recognise the strain the rocketing cost of living has placed on local residents. What nobody wants to see is a London where only the rich can afford to live.”

“This utterly shocking report shows that far more needs to be done to encourage employers to pay a Living Wage and bring down the cost of housing.”

Over a third of Londoners earn less than needed to live on in London

Over a third of Londoners (34%) earn less than is needed to live on in London according to a new report from the Trust for London. The report found that...

Labour’s John Biggs has announced that he would appoint three deputy Mayors to work closely alongside him if elected as Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Biggs said the team would reflect the wider community, be gender balanced and help to ensure the voices of all Tower Hamlets residents were heard loud and clear.

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Biggs named his three deputy Mayoral running mates as:
- Cllr Rachael Saunders, current Leader of the Labour Group
- Cllr Shiria Khatun, current Deputy Leader of the Labour Group
- Cllr Sirajul Islam, former Leader of the Labour Group and chair of the influential Strategic Development Committee.

Biggs said the team would provide the “experience and diversity of background to ensure the voices of all Tower Hamlets residents are heard."

If elected Biggs has said he would work with all councillors from different parties who were willing, but particularly the diverse and talented group of Labour councillors who represent all sections of the Tower Hamlets community.

The pledge comes in stark contrast to former Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s approach, which saw him rely heavily on paid advisors, concentrating power in his private office with little accountability.

Labour candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs:

“I intend to be a mayor for all of Tower Hamlets. For too long we have seen the power of the mayor unaccountably concentrated in one man’s hands - that is why I will appoint three deputy Mayors with the experience and diversity of background to ensure the voices of all Tower Hamlets residents are heard.”

“I want to lead a team which unites and reflects the whole borough. That’s why I will open up the mayoralty and appoint a top team who represent all sides of our community and together have a clear vision for improving our borough for everyone who live here. ”

Cllr Rachael Saunders:

‘I’m glad to be working alongside John Biggs as we continue to outline our better plan to move Tower Hamlets forward.  This election is about hope for the future of our communities, and restoring trust in our council once again. I know that, as a strong united team, we can deliver for people all across the east end – improving the state of our housing, cleaning up our streets, ensuring all of our young people benefit from the jobs and education opportunities our borough can provide.’

Cllr Shiria Khatun:

‘From his days fighting the EDL and racist groups across east London, John Biggs has a strong track record of fighting for equality and fairness in society and I’m proud about being part of his team. Our leadership team reflects the borough we’re here to serve and represent, and I know John will be a strong voice for ordinary people from all different backgrounds.'

Cllr Sirajul Islam:

‘This election provides an opportunity to move on from the previous regime and elect a Labour mayor who will build bridges across our diverse communities. Our focus as a team will be listening to local people about the issues that matter to them and offering the leadership that people expect and deserve - setting a higher standard for transparency, openness and accountability. '

“A team to unite the borough” – Biggs to appoint three deputy Mayors to reflect the community

Labour’s John Biggs has announced that he would appoint three deputy Mayors to work closely alongside him if elected as Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Biggs said the team would reflect...

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