The controversial Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman has been caught out misleading voters after detailed documents for this year’s Tower Hamlets Council Budget showed he has no intention of scrapping his £42,000 a year tax payer funded Mercedes.
Last month Rahman claimed, in a press release titled “Mayor to scrap council car” that “in order to ensure that the highest standards of probity and transparency are maintained, I will no longer be making use of the official car.” The statement came only months after a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary found the Mayor using the chauffeur driven Mercedes to collect dry-cleaning and travel distances as short as 0.2 miles.
It later emerged, following scrutiny from the East London Advertiser, that the Mayor was still using the car and that he actually intends to stop using the car on the 14th April when election purdah rules force him to give it up.
Analysis of the Mayor’s Budget for the coming years has now revealed £30,000 allocated for the car after the election in 2014/15 and then £42,000 in both 2015/16 and 2016/17. Labour say this is proof Rahman has deliberately attempted to mislead voters and clearly has no intention of scrapping his luxury tax-payer funded car if re-elected in May.
In June last year Labour’s Candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs pledged to permanently scrap the mayoral car if elected, instead relying primarily on the borough’s excellent public transport links.
Labour’s finance spokesperson, Cllr Carlo Gibbs, said:
“This is a clear-cut case of Lutfur Rahman saying one thing whilst purposely doing the absolute opposite. It’s not only an issue of wasting tax payers’ money, it’s about his inability to be honest with residents.
Labour’s candidate for Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“Lutfur Rahman obviously thinks a luxury lifestyle paid for at taxpayer expense is part of being mayor. I disagree. While a mayor may occasionally need to be driven somewhere a car and driver is an unjustifiable expense, and an insult to hard-pressed local people. As mayor I would stop this atrocious waste and use public transport whenever possible. Swapping a £42,000 car and driver for a travelcard is one of the first savings I will make. Aside from the expense, I am offended by the idea of a mayor who refuses to even travel among the people they are meant to represent.”