Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets officially kicked off their General Election campaigns today, with candidates Elaine Bagshaw and Will Dyer laying out their three main priorities if elected: fighting a Hard Brexit, protecting local NHS services and tackling the crisis in affordable housing.
The local party has tripled its membership since the EU referendum last year, recently surpassing 700 members. It also raised more than £3,000 in the week of the snap election call.
Furious Wapping residents were left in frustration last night as Tower Hamlets Police were unable to give assurance on how the rising level of crime and anti-social behaviour in the area will be tackled.
More than 100 residents packed into the St George Town Hall, to quiz Borough Commander Sue Williams on rising levels of crime and ASB. Attendees stressed that, while the small metal canisters discarded by people inhaling nitrous oxide are viewed as simply a litter problem, they are also linked to harder drug use and dealing, intimidation, prostitution, and car racing.
Local campaigner Stephen O’Shea attended the meeting and said: “The current levels of anti-social behaviour and racing in Wapping need to be fixed now. Local residents are concerned to walk their dogs at night, and although the Police and Council have promised action, nothing has been delivered yet. We refuse to wait until someone is killed or seriously injured”
This car racing issue dominated the discussion last night, with residents standing up to report their issues and fears. Commander Williams listened to our concerns, but had little concrete to say in response. Their resources are stretched, and they focus on the North of the Borough, which they consider more of a problem. This is understandable, but the lack of focus on Wapping is leading to a massive increase in crime, and we made sure that Commander Williams was made aware of that.
The Police promised to increase surveillance in the evenings (when speeding is likely to occur), make more use of speed cameras and to bring in road traffic police to assess what can be built in to reduce the problem. They called for residents to report any speeding, but there were shouts of anger when it was suggested that “there has not been enough evidence of speeding to date”. We have all been reporting these events frequently for months.
The Lib Dems welcome the Borough Commander’s promise to increase action on car racing, but are concerned that this is the same information heard from the Police at every meeting in the last two years. Also, the Council has done worryingly little to support the Police with work on the roads, and providing activities for youths to keep them off the streets.
The Lib Dems call on the Police and the Council to present a plan on what will be done in the next six months to fix the issue of car racing, and ASB in general, and will hold them to this plan.
In the meantime, you can help in three ways:
• If you witness any speeding, drug use or other ASB, report it at http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgnl/community_and_living/community_safety__crime_preve/anti-social_behaviour/reporting_asb_online.aspx or phone 101
• Join the Wapping Safer Neighbourhood Panel – they set the priorities for Wapping police to follow
• Join up the Online Watch Link (OWL) at https://www.owl.co.uk/met/ . It’s a new online version of Neighbourhood Watch
On a final note: as we returned home from the meeting last night, there was another car crash on the corner of Thomas More St. Luckily no-one was hurt. We have made sure that this was reported, to add to the Police's data file!
Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats are prepared to hit the ground running for the snap election sought by Prime Minister Theresa May in an announcement this morning and expected to be backed by the House of Commons in a vote tomorrow.
The two constituencies in the borough will be fought by experienced local campaigners, with Elaine Bagshaw standing for Poplar and Limehouse and Will Dyer running in Bethnal Green and Bow.
A damning report from Ofsted released today shows that children most at risk of harm are being failed by the local Labour Council. Children’s services and safeguarding were rated inadequate overall, with particular concern expressed that “Insufficient scrutiny by the chief executive, the Director of Children’s Services (DCS) and politicians has meant that they did not know about the extent of the failures to protect children until this inspection.”
Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrat members attended the party's Spring conference in York last week, voting with other party members for motions calling on the Government to provide emergency financial assistance to the National Health Service, create an 'NHS Passport' for the 59,000 EU citizens working for the NHS and reinstate the 'Dubs' scheme to provide sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Europe.
As you may be aware, a planning application has been submitted for King Henry’s Wharf and Phoenix Wharf and the Construction Management Plan for the development is currently open for comments. These buildings are beautiful parts of our Wapping community, and it is a shame that they been have left unused for so long. However, the plan to re-develop them will cause a great amount of disruption to traffic in Wapping.
Please look at the Construction Management Plan here, and comment by 23 March at the latest. You can email comments or concerns to email@example.com.
We appreciate the need for housing across Tower Hamlets, and would love to see these beautiful areas developed. However, the disruption to our lives during this time would only be worthwhile if we see significant commitment to social/affordable housing, and an improvement to local services:
- What is the commitment to social and affordable housing in this development?
- What is the commitment to sustainable development: parking and services to support the additional number of properties?
- What will be the impact on the 100 bus service and other road transport?
- What other options have been considered, which would avoid so much disruption to Wapping High Street
- Will the Council respond to our comments with a consultation before approving this plan?
We believe in the sustainable development of good, affordable housing in Tower Hamlets. But we should not accept major disruption to Wapping residents without sufficient local benefit.
This weekend, our friends at Community Solutions will once again be holding a mini-marathon around the Shadwell Basin.
Community Solutions is an important part of our local community, and works with local groups to provide services and help raise funds. They help with lots of services including "Helping Hands" supporting at-need people in the community, and "Trumpers Jumpers" giving fun activities for children.
Please come along on Saturday if you can, at the Shadwell Basin from 11.00-16.00. If you can't make it in person, you can donate on the JustGiving page here.
Locals in Wapping are reaching the end of their tether with dangerous driving around Wapping every evening.
Youths are using our quiet streets for car racing, with car crashes, drug use and intimidation a common problem. We are calling for proper policing in the area, and this has become urgent with a number of car crashes in recent weeks.
We have met the head of Tower Hamlets Police, who has called for more police in our Borough, to reflect the increasing crime and population. Local campaigner Stephen O’Shea says “Commander Williams is committed to fixing anti-social behaviour in Wapping. However, she can’t do this until the Mayor of London improves police numbers in Tower Hamlets. Let’s help our police and build a campaign for proper policing in the Borough.”
Please support this by signing our petition, sending Mayor Sadiq Khan a message to give Wapping and Tower Hamlets the police that we need.
Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats are calling for an investigation into the handling by the Metropolitan Police of allegations of corrupt and illegal practices during the 2014 Mayoral election. We are backing a letter from Steve O’Connell, Chair of the GLA’s Police and Crime Committee, requesting the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime to initiate a probe into how no criminal prosecutions were pursued, despite significant evidence.
The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government’s failure to provide enough extra cash for the NHS in today’s budget, warning that local services will struggle to cope with growing demand.
Ahead of the budget the Liberal Democrats called for a £4 billion funding boost for NHS and care services this year. That would amount to a cash injection of £10 million for local NHS services in Tower Hamlets and £11.3 million for social care across Tower Hamlets. The Budget announced by the Government today will instead see the share of national income spent on the NHS fall in the coming years.
NHS services in Tower Hamlets currently face a funding gap of £578 million by 2020-21, analysis of local NHS plans has found. The NHS funding crisis also risks being made even worse by the Government’s hard Brexit plans, which are set to increase borrowing by £100bn in the coming years.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Elaine Bagshaw commented:
“The Government is refusing to stump up the extra cash NHS services in Tower Hamlets so desperately need.
"This is a woefully inadequate response to the impossible pressure our NHS and care services are under.
“Chronic underfunding of our NHS is leading to longer waiting lists, cancelled operations and loved ones being stranded in hospital.
“Only the Liberal Democrats are being upfront with people that to protect our NHS and care services, we may all need to pay a little more in tax.
“We will also stand up against Theresa May’s reckless plans to pull out of the Single Market that will blow a £100 billion hole in the public finances. It’s clear you can’t have strong NHS and care services with a hard Brexit.”