45th Anniversary of Bangladesh Victory Day

As many in our community gather to mark the 45th Anniversary of Bangladesh Victory Day, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw said:

"Today we remember the 3 million people who lost their lives during the Liberation War, and the 10 million people who became refugees during the conflict. 

"We celebrate how Bangladesh has progressed since becoming independent, with its poverty rate falling from 57% in 1990 to 25.6% in 2014 and making great contributions to culture. 

"But we also recognise the challenges they face in the form of climate change and an increasingly unstable international picture. We hope that we can work together, alongside other nations, to tackle these challenges."

 


Fighting to protect civilians in Aleppo

This evening, Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake raised an urgent intervention 

during the Emergency Debate on International action to protect civilians in Aleppo and Syria. The international community’s reaction has been lamentable, and this parliament’s own reaction feeble.

Watch Tom's intervention here  http://bit.ly/2htoQqm

Shockwaves from this will be felt for decades. The Government must now again consider air aid drops, and even drops for areas other than Aleppo. The Government must also think about hitting the Russians where they will feel it: their pockets. The Maginitsky Amendment to the Criminal Law Bill will stop the UK becoming a safe haven for the profits of human rights abusers, and the Government must accept it.

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MARKING WORLD AIDS DAY IN TOWER HAMLETS

December 1st is the Day we remember the people living with HIV and AIDS.

Today we remember those who have died, and salute those who have fought this disease to make the World a better place for all our communities.

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THE AUTUMN STATEMENT SHOWS THE REAL COST OF A CHAOTIC TORY GOVERNMENT

The Tories have gone from promising a surplus to losing £220 billion.

The Brexiteers make excuses and deny the independent forecasts, but the Chancellor has made real changes based on those results that leave all but the top earners worse off.

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PASSPORTS FOR NHS TREATMENT WILL TARGET THE POOR AND VULNERABLE

Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets will oppose plans to make patients show their passports.

Newspapers are reporting government plans to make patients provide two forms of identification, including their passport, before receiving NHS treatment, allegedly to save money spent treating non-UK citizens.

But the real victims will be poor British patients who do not have passports, because they have never been abroad or cannot afford the cost, or the vulnerable patients who are unable to manage paperwork, because of physical or mental disability.

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Emanuel Andjelic selected for Whitechapel by-election

We are delighted to announce that last night the Executive chose Emanuel Andjelic as our candidate for the Whitechapel by-election.

Emanuel is one of our members who joined after the EU referendum. He has lived and worked in Whitechapel for 7 years, and runs a tech startup which helps people on low incomes to budget and save.

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Statement on Shahed Ali conviction

Commenting on Shahed Ali's disqualification from office after receiving a 5-month prison sentence for housing fraud, Elaine Bagshaw said: "The court has given us the right decision in the end, but only after Shahed Ali dragged this through the courts, costing the Council £70,000 in court costs.

The independent group is a shambles in the borough. This is the fourth councillor they've lost due to a criminal charge, and their in-fighting gives Labour a run for its money. They can't win in this borough anymore. 

Labour have increased council tax and at the same time increased their own salaries, helped by the votes of the Independent and Conservative Councillors. Local people deserve better, and only the Liberal Democrats will deliver this."


Have your voice heard on mixed- or single-sex school in Wapping

Are you a parent in or around Wapping?

A new secondary school is planned as part of the London Docks development in Wapping.  The Council will hold a consultation on whether this new school should be single-sex or mixed-sex.

The Council has not made any effort to publicise this consultation, so we want to make sure that parents have their voices heard.

We believe that there is a serious lack of secondary school provision in Tower Hamlets, and therefore it is critical that any new schools will meet the needs of local residents.

The consultation meeting will be on Monday 31 October at 6.30pm, at Raine’s House on Raine St.  We will be at the meeting – please let us know your views, or join us at the meeting if you are free.  

You can find out more details about the school plan at http://lovewapping.org/2016/10/smoke-fog-surround-plans-secondary-school-london-dock-wapping-e1w/, and we would love to hear any views or questions from you.  

Email Stephen at soshea37@hotmail.com with any views or questions.


Tower Hamlets Council leave £4 million unclaimed from local businesses

Tower Hamlets Council this year cut services and raised Council tax despite leaving over £4 million in business rates unclaimed in 2015.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Council showed that in 2015, £4,266,384.34 of business rates that were owed to the Council went unclaimed. Business rates are a tax on business properties and are the way that those who occupy non-domestic properties contribute to local services.

Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Campaigner for Poplar & Limehouse said:  

“I’m staggered. It’s a sign of heartlessness and incompetence by Labour that, with so much money going unclaimed, they still cut services and increased taxes on local residents whilst  giving themselves a pay rise.

According to the Council’s 2013 briefing, 46 per cent of our children are growing up in poverty. Yet the Council is making the burden of service provision fall on local residents, many of which are living below the poverty line. They should be concentrating on making sure businesses pay their fair share - as many are willing to.

Giving residents a worse service and increasing their financial burdens should be an absolute last resort. Labour could have collected the money owed to Tower Hamlets yet it just didn’t bother.

It’s time the Council prioritised getting its own house in order before increasing burdens on local residents.”

Notes to editor

The Council’s briefing on Child Poverty is available here:http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/Documents/Borough_statistics/Income_poverty_and_welfare/RB-Child-poverty-Briefing-Final-2013-07.pdf


What will Brexit mean for Tower Hamlets?

605px-Canary.wharf.from.thames.arp.jpgJust over three months since the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, residents and businesses in Tower Hamlets are extremely concerned about the impacts that Brexit could have on the borough, and on the worrying rise of hate crimes reported in the wake of the vote.

The borough has benefited from significant development funds from the European Union in the past and, with the highest rates of child poverty in the country, continued support for development, infrastructure, employment and training is vital to reverse this trend.

Tower Hamlets secured £675,000 in matched funding to provide grants for social development between 2016 and 2019, but leaving the EU will instead place additional pressures on council funds or central government to make up the shortfall.

Recipients of EU funding in the borough from 2007-2013 included projects in mobile commerce innovation, green printing processes, a Women’s Business Innovation Network, access to finance for growth for East London SMEs and support for young designers to get a foothold in the clothing industry.

The growing East London startup sector also had a scare from the Brexit fallout as the Department of Communities and Local Government froze payments from the £3.7m in funding agreed in the EU CASTS scheme to support over 600 tech companies in the city.

While the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has made a welcome announcement guaranteeing continued funding for some investment projects, particularly in science and agriculture, there is still considerable uncertainty over whether local government can expect continued support for projects in local infrastructure and social development.

Lord Porter, Chair of the Local Government Association, has called for the government to offer “certainty around the future of all of the £5.3bn in EU regeneration funding promised to them by 2020”, warning that continued uncertainty “risks damaging local regeneration plans and stalling flagship infrastructure projects, employment and skills schemes and local growth.”

But it is not only the borough’s underprivileged and early-stage business who are concerned about drifting away from the EU. The borough’s economic centre of Canary Wharf is seen by many as a bellwether for the post-Brexit economy and, while the proportion of banking business in the docklands has been declining slowly in recent years, restrictions on free movement of labour and access to the European market could accelerate the flight of financial firms to other European centres like Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

Sir George Iacobescu, the Romanian-born CEO of the Canary Wharf Group, warned before the referendum that a vote to leave could see London overtaken as Europe’s financial capital within five years.

Lastly, and perhaps of most concern, is the reported rise in hate crimes since the referendum result. The National Police Chiefs Council announced that complaints filed to True Vision, their online hate-crime reporting site, increased fivefold in the weeks following the vote. In multicultural boroughs like ours, it is important that we take a strong stand against hate. The council launched a No Place for Hate campaign shortly before the referendum vote, and since 23 June we have also seen community-led campaigns, such as Tower Hamlets Stand Together to foster tolerance and mutual engagement within the community.

Last weekend, the Liberal Democrat party agreed that citizens should be given the opportunity to vote on whatever Brexit deal is agreed by the British government. The party is also launching a national consultation on how Brexit will affect British citizens. If you have been affected by the outcome of the referendum or have concerns about how Brexit will affect your business, get in touch.


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