Tower Hamlets health cuts halted amid protest - but mums aren’t happy

Mothers protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall against the closures of nurseries in the borough

Mothers protest outside Tower Hamlets Town Hall against the closures of nurseries in the borough - Credit: Archant

Mums demonstrated at Tower Hamlets Town Hall against proposed cuts to nurseries, as the mayor hinted at a possible U-turn on the plans.

The women from the Save Our Nurseries campaign waved signs and told stories of how the four nurseries, earmarked for the axe as part of a £1million council savings drive, have helped their children.

The protest on November 5 began inside the lobby of the Town Hall, before security asked the mums to move outside – where passing council staff looked on bewildered. The group chanted: “Lutfur Rahman, hear us say: Public nurseries are here to stay.”

The nurseries affected are Queen Mary Day Nursery and Overland Children’s Centre, both in Bow; John Smith Children’s Centre in Stepney; and Mary Sambrook Day Nursery in Shadwell.

Parent Kana Evans, from the Isle of Dogs, said: “Without Queen Mary my child would not have the support we need, and I wouldn’t have childcare while I work.”

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At the council cabinet meeting – the first since the government announced it could be seizing council powers over a damning audit report – Mayor Lutfur Rahman appeared to concede some ground, saying he would “review” the case of three of the nurseries.

He also announced he was scrapping cuts to Tower Hamlets’ child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and would consider alternatives next month.

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Speaking to the Advertiser after the meeting, a mayoral spokesman said: “The Mayor has asked officers to review the savings package and come up with proposals that will be presented at December’s cabinet meeting.

“The CAMHS proposals were shelved following consultation that revealed far larger impact than envisaged on a vulnerable group without alternative provision.”

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