Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman accused of prioritising supporters in housing works

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman has been accused of prioritising wards represented by his supporters in work to improve housing standards.

More than half of works completed under the government’s Decent Homes Programme since the 2010 election have been carried out in areas mainly represented by Independent councillors supportive of the mayor, the opposition Labour group has warned.

In contrast, the number of homes to benefit from improvements in wards represented by Labour is far lower.

The Party’s spokesperson for housing Cllr Abdal Ullah said the scheme was aimed at ensuring everyone benefits from adequate living conditions.

“The mayor should serve all residents of the borough equally not target support to his friends”, he added.

“The mayor spends a lot of money promoting his housing policies but with over eight thousand homes considered below standard, residents will be concerned about his inability to deliver.”

In Whitechapel – which is represented by three Independent councillors - 724 homes benefitted from work between 2010 and January this year. But in Bow West – former Labour group leader Cllr Joshua Peck’s ward – only seven homes had work done on them in the two-and-a-half year period.

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Other wards in which a high number of homes received works include Shadwell and St Dunstan’s and Stepney Green.

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council insisted all council homes – more than 12,000 – would receive improvements under the scheme by 2015/16.

“Residents in every ward are benefiting from the work”, he said. “The scheduling of the works being carried out was based solely on practical issues, including the condition of housing stock, mobilising contractors in order to provide value for money and the council meeting targets.”

A spokesperson from Mr Rahman’s office accused Labour of “an ongoing paranoia with the Mayor”.

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