Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

Mayor Rahman’s limo saved as children’s services cut

By on March 13, 2015 in Tower Hamlets council

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman and his Tower Hamlets First colleagues have prioritised funding for his chauffeur driven limo and ‘mayoral advisors’ over helping those most in need in our borough.

Which should come as no surprise to any resident.

Budget proposals to scrap the mayoral car and Rahman’s advisers and save £365,000 then spending £427,000 to reverse cuts to services helping children leaving care were defeated at a council budget meeting.

Tower Hamlets has the highest rate of child poverty in the UK. (See previous post Child Poverty in Tower Hamlets mapped by ward for more details).

A nice shiny Mercedes-Benz S350

A nice shiny Mercedes-Benz S350

It is not known what particular type of limo the Mayor will be using to visit underprivileged children as he seems to be ‘between cars’ at the moment. He has favoured a Mercedes in the past.

The budget amendments that were rejected were:

  • Investing £250k into childcare places for two-year-olds
  • Reversing cuts to streetcare monitoring
  • Investing in a 24 hour noise service
  • Reversing cuts to the Leaving Care Service

More details on the Mayor’s budget proposals for his advisors can be found here.

“The day I have to make cuts, it’ll break me”

All this seems in direct contrast to comments made by the Mayor in a Guardian interview in 2013:

“It’ll break me as an individual, a politician and a resident the day I have to make cuts to our frontline services.” (The Guardian, 22 January 2013)

Decision condemned

Both Labour and Conservatives condemn the decision to prioritise Mayoral bling over children’s services.

“The Labour Group believes that we should be spending money on tackling child poverty rather than paying for expensive advisers for Mayor Lutfur Rahman. We also believe that the Mayor should be focussed on keeping our streets clean, rather than funding a private car for himself,” said Cllr. Rachael Saunders, Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour Group.

“During the budget meeting we proposed scrapping the Mayor’s media advisors and car, saving a total of £365,000. We proposed investing some of this into ensuring that more children receive their free childcare entitlement.”

Out of touch Town Hall

Chris Wilford, Conservative PPC for Poplar and Limehouse, said: “Yet again this out of touch Town Hall prioritises chauffeur driven cars and advisors over front line services. We need to safeguard essential public services to deal with the challenges we face, not lavish funds on free newspapers.”

RCJ Electoral Petition ending

The High Court challenge to the result of the 2014 Mayoral election in 2014 ends today, Friday 13th March. Unlucky for some. But who?

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