Lutfur Rahman points to achievements in first 100 days as Mayor - but council members disagree

Time is supposed to fly when you’re having fun but it’s questionable how much mayor Lutfur Rahman will have enjoyed his first 100 days running Tower Hamlets council.

Mr Rahman reaches his milestone tomorrow after officially becoming the borough’s first-ever directly-elected mayor on October 25 and one of his main tasks has been putting forward a budget including �70m worth of cuts.

Being the public face of such a savage funding reduction will not be a role he relishes and he acknowledged the budget had defined his first hundred days.

At the same time, he has pointed to a number of council achievements since taking on the �65,000-a-year role, including the demolition of Bengal House in Stepney in November – “a milestone in the �200 million regeneration of the Ocean Estate”.

In a previous stint as leader of the council he attended the ground-breaking at St Paul’s Way Trust School in Bow and in December he was able to tour what he said is a “state-of-the-art building”.

Getting people into work was a top priority according to the Mayor and he said he had helped to launch a Crossrail centre at the Whitechapel Idea Store providing information on job opportunities as part of the multi-billion pound project.

He said: “Despite the challenging times, I am continuing to drive forward projects and push for improvements in order to meet the needs of the borough’s residents.”

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But some of his council members were less praiseworthy of his early efforts. Labour councillor Joshua Peck said the mayor had made “a faltering start.”

He said: “Setting the budget will just be the start of a massive re-organisation of how the council will work.

“To do that while saving frontline services, you have to be on top of the detail.

“Lutfur has never been someone who’s been in control of detail.

The council’s Tory councillors were even more scathing of his record.

In a joint statement to the East London Advertiser titled “100 Days of Dynamic Action?” they pointed to a Freedom of Information request on Lutfur’s diary which they said showed him “rarely getting into the Town Hall before lunch.”

They also said the diary showed he has “gone straight back to his old ways of meeting exclusively with core supporters and key activist groups.”

How do you think Mr Rahman has done? Is he doing enough? And does having a directly-elected Mayor make a difference? Write to us or email ela.editorial@archant.co.uk.

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