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Advertiser letters: Mayor responds and ban air guns

PUBLISHED: 08:00 18 November 2017

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs responds to a comment made by Cllr Ohid Ahmed. Picture: KEN MEARS

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs responds to a comment made by Cllr Ohid Ahmed. Picture: KEN MEARS

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Council is ethnically diverse

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlet, writes:

Last week Cllr Ohid Ahmed took to these pages to peddle yet more of his divisive politics.

His statements about the workforce at Tower Hamlets Council on my watch are false, and designed, once again, to sow racial division in our borough. You would think he would have learnt how destructive and improper that is, but clearly not. Significant numbers of staff have left the council because of government spending including under ‘his’ mayor.

However, the council’s workforce has remained at similar proportions broken down by ethnic make-up throughout that period. The figures he gives are meaningless without context and an example of divisive cherry-picking facts one might expect from a man with no principles and with an election looming. Fake news, they call it.

Our ‘2016 Annual workforce report’ showed that around 55 per cent of the people working for the council identify as Asian, Bangladeshi, Black or Mixed race. That is slightly higher than the percentage of BAME people living in Tower Hamlets and indeed higher than when I was elected.

While the council has seen massive government funding cuts, it has remained fairly representative of the community we serve. This is not because we are ‘politically correct’ but because in our talented community we recruit across the community on merit.

He also claimed not a single director represents the borough’s ethnic minorities, obviously forgetting that two of the council’s five Corporate Directors are from BAME backgrounds and all five are women.

Our borough has a long tradition of being a welcoming place for all communities. I am proud of this fact and it is a privilege to be Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Cllr Ahmed‘s behaviour is the lowest form of politics and one I want us to move on from in Tower Hamlets.

Stop air guns being used on pets

Jacqui Cuff, advocacy and government relations manager, Cats Protection, writes:

In addition to the terrible human deaths and casualties that have been inflicted by indiscriminate use of air weapons, many pets have also been the unfortunate victims of air weapons.Cats Protection’s air gun licensing petition has already received over 76,000 signatures and we would like to thank all of those who have signed the petition.

Cats receive life-changing injuries from air guns such as limb amputation or loss of an eye. A 2016 Cats Protection survey of vets found that 46 per cent of reported incidents result in fatalities.

We welcome the government’s intention to review the regulation of air weapons licensing.

We are asking the government to licence air guns in England and Wales, bringing us in line with Northern Ireland and Scotland.

We would like to encourage those who haven’t signed up to show their support by going to our website cats.org.uk/airgunspetition.

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