Tower Hamlets is failing its young after the riots, claims Labour Group

PUBLISHED: 18:20 07 August 2012

One year after last summer’s riots Labour has accused the Mayor of failing to address many of the problems which young people face in Tower Hamlets.

In particular, Labour has criticised plans to scrap community-based youth services in favour of a new centralised model, a move which has attracted significant opposition, with 2,400 people signing a petition urging the proposals to be scrapped.

Labour’s spokeswoman for health and social care, Cllr Rachael Saunders, cited research from the Institute for Public Policy Research as evidence that Tower Hamlets was at risk of unrest due to its high levels of youth unemployment and child poverty.

She said: “Analysis of the riots has clearly shown the significant challenges facing young people. Youth services are important not only to those who use them but also to the wider community.

“Local community based organisations with their long-standing links with communities are far better placed to engage with young people than centralised council officers.

“It would be far more effective to do this by working collaboratively with neighbourhood groups in a transparent way, rather than behind closed doors in Mulberry Place. The only thing the Mayor is doing through this approach is cannibalising community-based youth services to balance his budget.”

However, Tower Hamlets Mayor, Lutfur Rahman, refuted Labour’s accusations.

“I am disappointed that the Labour Group are scaremongering and scoring political points off something as serious as last year’s riots.

“We’re not cutting the budget and we are not closing any youth services, we’re simply cutting out privatised middle management. Instead the Council will directly manage the provision of youth services, which will still be provided by a wide range of community and voluntary organisations.”

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