Labour’s fully funded plan for Free School Meals agreed by Council

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Mayor storms out of the Council chamber, refusing to respond

Last night’s Council meeting saw the culmination of the recent debates on Labour’s proposals to introduce free school meals to all primary school pupils in the borough. In a dramatic twist Labour councillors produced a new fully funded plan which was agreed by the Council including the Mayor’s independent supporters.

The Labour plan gives the Mayor the power to fund the free school meals programme from public health funds as well as using savings delivered by cutting his mayoral Mercedes and his £300,000 budget for political consultants. Rahman’s alternative proposal which he put before the Council was to adopt Labour’s free school meals policy but to fund it by raiding the Council’s emergency reserves meaning more cuts in future years.

The mayor now has a choice between Labour’s approved plan, including the cuts to his advisors and mayoral car, or rejecting free school meals altogether.

Following the vote the Mayor stormed out of the Council chamber, refusing to respond when he was asked whether he will implement the Council’s agreed plan or not. 

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

“As a father I am proud to have fought for this great policy which will really help our children and their parents. John Biggs’ vision and leadership put this issue on the agenda. It is this progressive vision for the borough which I believe is the reason people should vote John for Mayor at the upcoming elections.”

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

“Lutfur Rahman now has a chance to show the electorate what kind of man he is. We have set out a clear, fully funded and sustainable plan to fund free school meals for all primary school pupils. That’s the kind of thing people want their Council to be doing, not wasting taxpayer money on vanity advisors and chauffeured cars.”

Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Cllr Rachael Saunders, said:

“If Lutfur Rahman had supported free school meals then he would have included it in his original Budget. Last night’s decision proved that only Labour is prepared to take the tough decisions and deliver the change people desperately need.

“We have now given Rahman a clear way to fund free school meals, it is now up to him to step up to the plate and implement it. I wont believe he will prioritise free school meals over his political consultants until I see the proof.”

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