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Deprived East End faces £70m cuts in council services

PUBLISHED: 20:01 10 August 2010 | UPDATED: 16:18 05 October 2010

CUTS to public services of £70 million are going to hit London’s deprived East End over the next three years, £15m above what had been predicted. Tower Hamlets has already been forced to make immediate cuts above £8m over the next 12 months, while fighting to protect front-line council services

By Mike Brooke

CUTS to public services of £70 million are going to hit London's deprived East End over the next three years, £15m above what had been predicted, it has emerged.

Tower Hamlets has already been forced to make immediate cuts above £8m over the next 12 months, while fighting to protect front-line council services in the face of tough Government budget reductions, the council's cabinet was told.

Now Labour cabinet members are calling on London Mayor Boris Johnson take on his Tory comrades in Downing Street to fight for the East End as a special case, with Tower Hamlets being one of Britain's most deprived boroughs.

"Boris represents all of London and must lobby for us," council budget supremo and resources member David Edgar told the East London Advertiser tonight.

"We'll have to push hard to minimise cuts to front-line services, but we don't yet know where the Government wants savings from.

"We have to create a 'lean' organisation with a streamlined structure to preserve frontline functions."

Agency temps are feeling the first pinch. Some permanent staff at one-stop shops and other offices could face the axe later as the council toys with the idea of putting more services online such as parking permits.

Other savings include vacant posts being frozen, like the Deputy Chief Executive at £125,000 a year.

Suppliers are also being cut to the bone, with hard-bargaining and a move towards more bulk-buying.

But deeper cuts will have to be made as the authority looks for £70m savings over three years, such as Dockland's expensive Anchorage House luxury office block it rents next to the Town Hall when the lease ends in 2013.

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