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Tower Hamlets gets back powers as government confidence begins to restore

PUBLISHED: 09:04 30 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:04 30 October 2015

Tower Hamlets council

Tower Hamlets council

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More local council powers are being handed back to Tower Hamlets after 10 months of government-appointed commissioners going through the books.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John BiggsTower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs

The move to restore the east London local authority’s self-management back to normal without day-to-day supervision has been welcomed by its new mayor, John Biggs, who took control after wining the re-run election in June following ousted Lutfur Rahman being barred from office by the High Court.

“I welcome this a vote of confidence,” Mayor Biggs said. “We are putting the past behind us with a new management team in place.

“Our day-to-day work is not about politics, but providing services—and that’s what we’ll do.”

Commissioners were parachuted in by Whitehall last December to oversee specific council functions including grants and contract deals.

Deposed mayor Lutfur Rahman (left) at a Citizens UK election hustings in 2014 with John Biggs, the man he originally defeatedDeposed mayor Lutfur Rahman (left) at a Citizens UK election hustings in 2014 with John Biggs, the man he originally defeated

The Town Hall has had to address the government’s concerns over procurements and the way public funds were dished out by the previous administration.

Some 90 per cent of suspect items identified in the authority’s public performance have now been sorted or due to be sorted under targets set by Whitehall, it has been revealed.

The hand-back of powers announced by the Department for Communities & Local Government is a major step in the Town Hall’s return to a “healthy governance and rebuilding public trust”.

It follows the controversial dark days of what a High Court judge described in April as the “bunker” mentality of the previous mayor’s independent administration which led to commissioners being appointed in the first place to cast an eye over the accounts.

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