£300,000 wasted by Mayor on failed Watts Grove housing project

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Lutfur Rahman refuses to account for his actions

Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s failed Watts Grove housing project cost the tax payer over three hundred thousand pounds Freedom of Information requests have revealed.  The decision in July to scrap the project which would have resulted in 149 new council homes was made after it emerged that the Mayor’s mismanagement of the Council’s finances had left the scheme unaffordable.

The true £307,996 cost of that decision comes after the Council’s cross-party scrutiny committee yesterday questioned council officers about how such a staggering amount of tax payer money was allowed to be wasted on the doomed project. Councillors had requested the Mayor attend to justify his decision to scrap what would have been the first new council homes in years, but he and his entire cabinet refused.

Speaking at the meeting the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Motin Uz-Zaman, said:

“We have constantly asked the Mayor to attend to justify his decision to scrap these 149 new homes but he has refused. This Committee is here to hold the Executive to account but it is clear that the Mayor isn’t interested in the democratic process, he just wants power without a care for the consequences of his decisions.”

Official Council figures show that since the Mayor came to power in 2010 only 15 new council homes have been built in the borough, all of which were already under construction thanks to previous Labour administrations.

Labour’s Spokesperson for Housing, Cllr Abdal Ullah, said:

“Not only has the current Mayor failed to deliver the council housing he promised, he has wasted over £300,000 of tax payer money in the process.

“When faced with legitimate questions about a failure of this scale a Mayor with integrity would stand up and defend his decision. Instead Lutfur Rahman once again refuses – his silence is an insult to tax payers who want to know why their money is being needlessly wasted.”

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