Labour Mayor John Biggs has welcomed last night’s council vote as “real evidence that Tower Hamlets is now moving forwards” after his Budget was accepted by Councillors without the need for a second Council meeting – the first time this has happened since a Mayoralty was introduced in 2010.
Despite the Labour Group having a majority of 1, the Budget was passed by 25 votes to 17 signalling strong recognition for the progress made by the Mayor since his election in June 2015.
Mayor John Biggs said: “Our borough has had a troubled past, but this vote offers real evidence that Tower Hamlets is now moving forwards. Every year the previous Mayor’s Budget was rejected by councillors at the Budget meeting, so passing the Budget vote with such a clear majority is a strong signal that my administration is making real progress. Despite huge Tory cuts to the council budget we have put together a Budget that puts residents first – with extra money for cleaner streets and to tackle anti-social behaviour, decent wages for our carers, and a new investment fund to build more genuinely affordable housing.”
“Labour is cleaning up Tower Hamlets – fixing historic problems, and bringing real transparency to the Town Hall. The unnecessary and savage cuts made to our community by the Tories have made setting a Budget much harder, but I have been transparent and honest about the difficult decisions that we have had to consider. I’m confident that we are protecting the services that residents value and rely on the most.”
The Tory government has confirmed huge cuts to funding for Tower Hamlets Council, which will mean the council will have £59m less to spend on services by 2019, with £17m of savings needed in this year alone. Council tax will rise as a result of the Tory decision to abolish the Council Tax Freeze grant which previously allowed councils to keep council tax down, and to ask councils to increase council tax by 2% to try to meet the gap caused by cuts to funding for vulnerable adults and the elderly.