Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman vows to fight government cuts


- Credit: Archant

Will Tower Hamlets Labour join me in fighting the cuts and protect the vulnerable?

The Chancellor, George Osborne has just announced the deepest cuts ever to hit local government – a planned reduction in spending of over a billion pounds next year, and deeper cuts to follow. Having Eric Pickles as the Minister in charge of defending local government against Osborne’s’ predations is similar to sending batsman into the crease, without a bat. Locally we are already fighting Boris Johnson’s plans to cuts our local fire and police stations, but everyone now needs to come together to protect our vital services from these savage spending cuts to come. Or will Eric Pickles and his dutiful supporter in our borough, Tory Councillor Peter Golds, only be content when there is a food bank on each street corner?

The cuts challenge needs also to be issued to the local Labour Party in Tower Hamlets. In recent days they have been making a lot of noise about the Tory Government’s plans to cuts spending to the marrow. But Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls has promised not to reverse the cuts should Labour win the next election. I am determined not only to fight the cuts, but make sure Labour, if elected begins to reverse them. Will Labour, locally join me in doing the same? Or will they continue attacking me for trying to stand up for local services and local people? GLA member, John Biggs, needs to begin to show some real leadership here.

Austerity is slowly throttling Britain’s economy. Even the IMF says it is failing. If the Tories are re-elected the Institute of Fiscal Studies says that there will be further cuts of £23 billion for 2017-2018. Falling living standards, reduced services and even greater inequality is what is on offer to an increasingly jaded electorate nationally. Here in Tower Hamlets, we have so far managed to avoid much of the worst that the Government has thrown at us. But we are a poor borough and vulnerable in a way that many of the better off Tory controlled authorities are not. It would certainly be a great deal easier for us to continue to fight the cuts if the local Labour Party worked with us, instead of constantly sniping against me and the people of this borough.