£70m boost to Tower Hamlets’ housing budget

A £70million boost to Tower Hamlets Council’s housing budget has been triggered after it hit targets set in 2010.

More than 8,000 homes are set to benefit from improvements as a result of the cash injection over the next three years.

The central government funds have been unlocked in addition to a £95m sum awarded in 2010 under the Decent Homes Scheme.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said the improvements would help create jobs and apprenticeships for local people.

Cabinet member for housing Cllr Rabina Khan added: “All of our properties are on track to become Decent by 2015. This administration will do whatever it can to address the borough’s pressing housing need.’’

The announcement follows months of bitter exchanges over investment in the borough’s housing stock, with Labour councillors previously accusing Mayor Rahman of dismantling progress made earlier by “scrimping on costs and leaving residents with substandard work.”

But Labour welcomed the news of the extra funding, insisting it was down to MPs’ lobbying in Westminster.

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Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said: “The first thing I did when I became an MP was to raise this with David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions and lobby the secretary of state for communities and local government.

“It is a sad fact that the Mayor or Tower Hamlets feels it necessary to try and claim credit for this victory, we know that it was Labour’s foresight to introduce Decent Homes and our campaigning and lobbying which has brought this funding to the borough.”

The council announced in December that it is also set to receive £16m government funding after building more new homes in the last year than any other English local authority.

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