Tower Hamlets a Flourishing Democracy (Part One)
Last night I went along to join a lobby of Tower Hamlets Council as an act of solidarity with hard working and committed trade unionists, organized by Unison and workers employed by the authority in what I consider the front line of deprivation, that damaging lack of material benefits considered to be the basic necessities in society and which in this borough blights the lives of so many, but more about that in a moment.
The lobby was well supported and a testament of determination by the workforce to do all it can to protect jobs and services from the savage swinging axe that is attached at a right angle to George Osborne’s arm and being used to great effect to cull the services provided by local authorities up and down the country.
Trying to keep this post as short as I can... I decided to stay for the full council meeting, as I was intrigued to find out for myself what the Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman and his administration was really like and how did it operate in comparison to what I had read and heard in the the local and national media, you know I discovered the complete opposite, so I’m going to say this, what a lovely man is Lutfur Rahman, there is nothing pretentious or ostentatious about the man, that was my first observation and the second was just how skillful were his team of Tower Hamlets First Councillors in performing their duties as the peoples representatives.
This is a team who are determined to bring home the commitment made to the electorate in May, which includes waging a fight against poverty and improving lives of their constituents whether they voted for them or not.
The one thing that stands out above anything and everything else is the improvements that have been made to the housing stock, the improvements in such a short time are like grease lighting. I work some of the time in Tower Hamlets so I've seen this appearing in the blink of an eye, there is much more of course, such as more housing or like free school meals and the educational and training support given to young people.
Lutfur Rahman has said:
“Supporting vulnerable children and their families is one of my top priorities and we continue to work with our partners in tackling child poverty. In light of central government cuts, we must work even harder to ensure our services reach those who need them most.”
Recent figures indicate that that Tower Hamlets houses and contains areas with some of the highest levels of child poverty in the UK, but despite the council’s efforts, the borough’s child poverty levels have risen from 42 per cent in 2013. In both Bethnal Green and Bow, and Poplar and Limehouse, almost 50 per cent of children live in poverty. So if it’s a crime to tackle this, if its a crime to tackle bad or the lack of good social housing then Lutfur Rahman and his Councillors are guilty of it and they would be the first to put their hands up and own up... proudly to the crime of that I am now in no doubt.