Tower Hamlets looks for �17m cuts while streamlining services

TOWN Hall bosses are looking for another �17 million to slash from public services in London’s East End on top of the �55m they have already identified.

Tower Hamlets faces a massive cuts of �72m over the next three years as part of the Government’s public spending review.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman is trying to dodge axing ‘front line’ services in Britain’s most deprived borough by ordering council officers to reduce council bureaucracy and streamline his administration.

“I wish we didn’t have to make these cuts,” he told last night’s council cabinet meeting. “But we’re being forced to make savings by the Tory-led coalition government’s doctrinaire politics.”

Some functions such as social care and parking enforcement could be shared with neighbouring boroughs.

The the council’s weekly newspaper thought to be costing �3m a year is also being ‘reviewed’ to comply with Government pressure.

The cabinet’s Lead member in charge of the budget, Alibor Choudhury, has been given the task of ‘cushioning’ the blow which begins with �30m cuts in the coming year alone.

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He told the Advertiser: “We’re getting rid of layers of management, cutting back-office functions.

“We still need to save another �17m. It’s a big challenge to find savings of that magnitude.”

Work will pile up for those left who’ll have to manage with fewer office staff.

He is using “natural wastage” to reduce office staff gradually over the coming year, which would be cheaper than dipping into the council’s �8m redundancy fund.

Debt collecting is to be stepped up, including rents, along with tougher negotiations with suppliers.

Charges are to be brought in for non-essential services such as pest control in private properties, for example, which is free at present.