‘Black hole’ warning as Tower Hamlets Council prepares to vote on budget

Grim warnings of a looming black hole in Tower Hamlets Council’s finances are overshadowing this year’s budget negotiations.

Opposition councillors are forecasting a £50million gap between what the Town Hall spends and receives by 2016.

Labour councillors have accused Mayor Lutfur Rahman of short-term spending sprees which will leave the next administration’s coffers empty.

“Ignoring the black hole while continuing to spend on unfunded pet projects is the height of irresponsibility from this Mayor” said Labour’s spokesperson for resources Cllr Carlo Gibbs. “While other boroughs are preparing themselves for a difficult few years, he’s going for broke to secure his own re-election with no regard of the mess he will leave us.”

But members of Independent Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s cabinet insisted their budget proposals are affordable.

A spokesperson added that revenue from public health grants and reserves as well as “efficiency savings” meant the books would be balanced by 2014/15.

Tower Hamlets Council will vote on budget proposals at a meeting tomorrow.