War of words over Tower Hamlets council’s advice centre grants continues

Opposition councillors in Tower Hamlets continue to clash over the process by which funding is being allocated to community and advice centres.

Several organisations have said they will be forced to shut if Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman presses ahead with the proposals. While some organisations are facing cuts of as much as 70 per cent to what they are allocated, others are receiving huge increases.

A final decision was due to be announced at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, but the item was removed from the agenda in order to allow more time for consideration.

The council’s opposition Labour group hailed the move as a triumph for its campaign.

Group leader cllr Joshua Peck said: “This is a victory for all of those organisations who face having their funding cut to the bone.

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“We hope that he will now take the chance to listen and step back from his proposed cuts. “Above all it is vital that this decision is made transparently and in public to ensure that residents get their chance to express their views and that there is no attempt to take this decision behind closed doors.

“I call upon him (the Mayor) to commit to make a final decision in public.”

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Responding to the claims, cabinet member for resources cllr Alibor Choudhury accused Labour of scaremongering.

“A couple of weeks ago they held a protest outside the Tower Hamlets Law Centre without permission, then they tried to claim we’re making cuts when we made clear no final decision had been taken, and now they’re claiming credit for a review process that the Mayor instituted months ago.

“Cllr Peck has led his party into irrelevance. It would be laughable if it weren’t for the fear and uncertainty they’ve stirred in the community in the process.”

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