Tower Hamlets accused of ‘huge disparity’ in grants to poorest areas

Tower Hamlets Town Hall in Mulberry Place

Tower Hamlets Town Hall in Mulberry Place - Credit: Archant

Tower Hamlets Council has been accused of a “huge disparity” in its funding decisions that give less money to the poorest areas of the borough.

Number-crunching by analyst Mark Baynes, who runs the LoveWapping blog, said he found no link between where grants were awarded and where there is the greatest need.

The Labour group called the disparity an “injustice” and said it was concerned about the findings.

The data shows the borough’s smallest ward, Spitalfields and Banglatown, population 10,300, receives the highest level of grants with £107.53 per person, while the largest ward, Millwall, with 23,000 residents, receives just £2.30 per person – the lowest in the borough and more than 50 times less.

Mr Baynes, who has lived here for four years, said: “Sometimes there’s just a huge disparity.

“The one I quote is Millwall against Spitalfields and Banglatown, which is getting a huge amount more in grants.

“There are such differences that there needs to be an explanation as to where all these grants are going and what they’re being used for.”

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“It’s residents’ money. They should have a view of where these grants have gone so they can make their own minds up.”

Labour leader Cllr Rachel Saunders said: “The Labour Group has been really concerned for some time that the level of grant allocations don’t match need.

“The poorest areas such as Mile End and Bromley-by-Bow don’t get much money, while Spitalfields gets the highest level of funding.

“So we welcome the LoveWapping site’s scrutiny work for shining a light on this injustice.”

A council spokesman said: “Given that the report from [government-backed auditors PricewaterhouseCooper] is due to be published shortly and that, as requested by the secretary of state [for local government Eric Pickles], it will focus on four key areas including the area of grant-giving, we feel it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage.”

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