Budget hits East End kids on poverty line, Tower Hamlets Labour warns
PUBLISHED: 09:10 20 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:53 20 March 2014
Opposition Labour activists in London’s deprived East End have accused Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget of lacking measures to protect low income families and those struggling with the cost of living.
The average working family was now £1,600 worse off since 2010, a large part due to the rise in VAT, they claimed.
Their London Assembly budget chairman John Biggs, who is running for Mayor of Tower Hamlets in the May local elections, warned that “worse is to come” in cuts to services.
“The government apparently recognised that ordinary people are finding life tough—but have done nothing to address this,” he insisted.
“Massive spending cuts affecting the services needed by local people are still to come. Yet the government continues heading in the wrong direction.”
He is competing against independent Lutfur Rahman at the polls for control of Tower Hamlets’ own £1.2 billion budget.
Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali insisted yesterday’s national Budget was hitting East End families on the poverty line.
She said: “Child poverty is set to increase. Levels in Tower Hamlets are already among the highest.”
Party activists are campaigning for a freeze energy bills until 2017 and the energy market to be “reformed to stop households being ripped off”. They also want tax cuts for those on middle and low incomes, free childcare expanded to 25 hours a week for working parents with children up to age four and a tax on bank bonuses to pay for getting more young people back to work.
Opposition Labour councillors also fear further reductions in town hall services in coming years, despite local authorities like Tower Hamlets already being hit with cuts of up to 25 per cent.