John Biggs announces proposals for improving jobs and economic development in Tower Hamlets‏

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John Biggs pledges to create an Apprenticeship Exchange as the Mayor’s failure on long-term unemployment is revealed

  • Long-term youth unemployment more than doubles in Tower Hamlets under Lutfur Rahman
  • Labour’s John Biggs pledges to set up an Apprenticeship Exchange and partner with the community to transform local retail centres
John Biggs, Labour’s candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets, has pledged to set up a centre of excellence for apprenticeships in Tower Hamlets after new figures revealed the borough’s soaring rate of long-term unemployment under the current mayor Lutfur Rahman.

John Biggs will set up a council supported Apprenticeship Exchange to give young people a better chance of work regardless of their educational background or skill set. The pledge was made as new figures show an alarming rise in the number of people out of work for more than 12 months since Lutfur Rahman came to office.

Between October 2010 and December 2013 the number of 18-24 year-olds claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) for more than one year more than doubled. And at the same time the total number of claimants has risen by nearly a quarter. This comes despite the fact that the UK economy has grown 3.8 per cent over the same period.

John Biggs also announced his intention to prioritise jobs and economic development if elected Mayor by forging partnerships with business, the community and the third sector to revitalise Tower Hamlets’ local retail centres, provide the vocational training young people need to find work and provide support to start ups enterprises which drive growth and job creation.    

At a press conference at London Grease Monkeys – a new local car garage and repair service started by Labour Council Candidate Shahaveer Shubo Hussain - John Biggs announced today that if elected as Mayor of Tower Hamlets in May he will:

Revitalise our local retail centres - Working as a trusted, honest broker in partnership with the community, businesses and the council to protect local businesses, promote shopping locally and lobby for powers to limit pay day loans and betting shops.

Create a Tower Hamlets Apprenticeship Exchange - Work with business and the third sector to create a council supported exchange service to make sure all young people have a fair chance whether academic or non-academic - providing apprenticeship matching, skills development and career advice.

Set up a network of Start Up Centres – Nurture new entrepreneurs through Start Up Centres in empty council and office buildings to provide affordable work space, mentoring and advice for entrepreneurs, start up businesses and community enterprises.

All proposals are focused on partnering with local employers – whether larger businesses in and around Canary Wharf or local enterprises on our high streets - to improve access for people of all ages to jobs in the borough.  Unlocking the potential of the East End through employment and the improved income and self-esteem that flows from it is a key part of John Biggs and Labour’s offer to voters this May.

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

“These worrying figures underline Lutfur Rahman’s continuing failure on jobs and the local economy. He isn’t trusted by business or the community and it’s the young people of Tower Hamlets that take the hit.

“This isn’t about numbers but about each young person who doesn’t have access to the opportunities that are there and should be available to people in our borough. Tower Hamlets residents deserve better than to be abandoned by the mayor while he concentrates on expensive vanity projects.

“This is why I have committed to revitalising our town centres, setting up an Apprenticeship Exchange and building a network for start-up centres to unlock the potential of our borough and give young people the start in life they need.”

Sirajul Islam, Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group said:

“This is another example of the current mayor letting Tower Hamlets down. We need real leadership at the Council that can build on the massive potential we have always had here in the East End. Only John Biggs and Labour can build the partnerships necessary to deliver jobs and economic growth to all communities across the borough.”


Rachael Saunders, Deputy Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group said:

“Lutfur Rahman has failed in creating jobs for local people - in the summer of 2012 every Olympic borough saw a rise in people in work, apart from Tower Hamlets, where unemployment went up.  A Labour council led by John Biggs would have the strength and credibility to work with employers and training providers across the borough and across London to support the people of Tower Hamlets in achieving their ambitions.”

Shahaveer Hussain, Labour Candidate for Canary Wharf said:

“It was a real challenge to start my business which is why I’m proud to support these Labour Party proposals that will mean other young people that want to do the same thing have more support than I did from the Council.  As a small business owner – I know that these proposals will mean that more jobs are created and more local businesses are supported to grow.”

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