Advertiser letters: Child poverty and Fish Island bridge

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 February 2018

Child poverty in increasing. PICTURE: PA

Child poverty in increasing. PICTURE: PA

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

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

Time to stop child poverty

Cllr Ohid Ahmed, independent mayoral candidate for Tower Hamlets, writes:

I am demanding urgent action by both central government and mayor John Biggs as latest figures show a massive increase in child poverty in the borough, which now has the highest percentage figure for the whole of the country.

A new report commissioned by an umbrella group of influential charities found that a staggering 53 per cent of children growing up in Tower Hamlets live in poverty.

This figure, the report claims, has leapt by a 10pc in the past year alone. The average percentage of children growing up in poverty in Britain stands at 23pc.

Following the publication of the report, describing I find its findings shameful, unforgivable and a wake-up call for mayor Biggs and the borough’s MPs.

Of course we know that this government’s never-ending policy of national austerity, coupled with cuts to local services and to help for the poorest is having a devastating effect on those who are the most vulnerable of all – our children.

But we also know that hard fought for protections and policies for the poorest achieved by the last administration in Tower Hamlets and when I was deputy mayor, have been allowed to wither and die under the dead hand of mayor Biggs and his administration.

These protections had included allowances for 16 year olds staying in education and providing four council-run day services and other support activities.

If ever there was a case for proving that ‘trickle down’ economics does not work, it is right here in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

It is one thing to stand up and fight for what is right, it is quite another to kneel and surrender as Mayor Biggs has done time and time again.

It is time for him and for the borough’s local MPs to make a very determined, noisy and effective stand. Frankly though, time for him and them to do so is fast running out. Residents can see this and they are taking note.

The shock increase in child poverty in Tower Hamlets comes after a period of substantial re-build and re-development in the borough.

However, these figures demonstrate that new buildings do not necessarily translate into improving standards of living for local residents.

In the case of all too many of the borough’s young children, this has clearly been the opposite case.

I pledge to restore front-line services and begin to turn back the tide in child poverty that threatens the future well being of over half of the borough’s young people.

We don’t want the bridge

Ray King (72) and Ellie King (24), Christchurch Square, Hackney, write:

We were shocked and horrified to read about the plan to build a road bridge over the River Lea Navigation from Fish Island into the Olympic Park at Vittoria Wharf.

This threatens to bring pollution and noise from road traffic into one of the few areas in East London which is peaceful and relatively unpolluted. The only justification for building a bridge would be to connect public transport to planned housing in the Olympic Park.

Cars and lorries would have to be banned from this bridge to prevent rat-running, which already blights the entire wider residential area.

One of the biggest issues currently facing the capital is reducing toxic air pollution. How will building a new road bridge help this?

This stupid decision to build a road bridge was made as long ago as 2014, and although we are local residents and regularly walk past the spot, we are not aware of any publicity or public consultation.

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