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Tower Hamlets cabinet member says sorry for £1,841 cab fares on council tax

PUBLISHED: 15:01 11 March 2013 | UPDATED: 15:01 11 March 2013

A leading member of Tower Hamlets cabinet has publicly said ‘sorry’ for taking taxis paid for out of council tax instead of using public transport.

Cllr Oliur Rahman’s apology follows criticism last month when he and five other members of Lutfur Rahman’s cash-strapped administration in London’s East End, including the Mayor himself, were found to have splashed out £7,675 on cabs between them in just six.

“I have been criticised over my former use of taxis for my public duties as a councillor,” Cllr Rahman said this week.

“I used to take taxis booked through the council to fulfill numerous appointments, but should have been more aware of the fares which are so outrageously high.”

He had since bought a car, he revealed when the council’s taxi account first came to light.

“I don’t claim for petrol money or travel expenses,” he added.

“I sincerely apologise for my earlier use of taxis, which I am sure will upset many residents.”

He has promised to make a donation to the National Cycling Charity’s road safety campaign.

This, ironically, follows Cllr Rahman landing in hot water with cyclists in December after the death of a rider in Commercial Road when he tweeted about cyclists not wearing safety equipment and some who “think they own the road.”

The cycling organisation called him to pledge to make the roads safer rather than blame victims.

Cllr Rahman clocked up £1,841 for 67 cabs, including 39 between Stratford Job Centre where he works and the Town Hall, according to Freedom of Information data obtained by Tory opposition councillors.

The Tories later referred the taxi spending to the District Auditor and raised it with the Secretary of State.

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