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.”
Plans to change business rates that will see massive rises for London shops and other small businesses while going easy on off-shore multi-national internet giants have been slammed by the Liberal Democrats.
Official figures show that Tower Hamlets area will see business rates rise by 8.7 per cent.
Elaine Bagshaw, Liberal Democrat PPC for Poplar & Limehouse constituency, said:
“Many local small businesses are extremely worried about this change. Against a backdrop of increased rents and fierce competition from online retailers, many shops and small businesses are being punished by the Conservative government simply for committing to the economic life of their neighbourhoods.
“Why should a local sandwich shop face an increase that could threaten its entire business, yet Amazon’s giant warehouses enjoy a taxcut?
“If that were not galling enough, local firms have to pay increased business rates for improvements they make to properties that in many cases they don’t even own. Even the Conservatives should admit that this cannot be fair. It is time they held their hand up, admitted they have got this all wrong, and start again.”
Elaine Bagshaw has called for ministers to reform both business rates and corporation tax so firms will be taxed according to their ability to pay. Elaine Bagshaw added: “Vince Cable is chairing a commission for the Liberal Democrats to come up with a fair and effective system. The sad thing is that this was avoidable, but the Conservatives shelved a proposal from the Liberal Democrats during the last coalition government to reform the system.
“Small business owners in Tower Hamlets are already reeling from the Conservative Brexit government’s decision to go for a hard Brexit and take us out of the Single Market. Now they are being asked to pick up the tab while the government let big international business off the hook. This is yet another example of a Conservative Government that has lost any right to call itself ‘the Party of Business’.”
After a Council meeting lasting over three and a half hours, we left still with no clarity over what’s happening with children centres and youth services but with a clear picture of the disfunction on the Council, which operates without an effective opposition and is letting residents down.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Andrew Cregan said, “Liberal Democrats have been vocal on the need for this budget to protect our vital children’s centres and nurseries. We hope the services will be preserved as the Mayor and Labour councillors have promised, and we will be watching closely to ensure young people and mothers don’t bear the brunt of these changes.
We’re glad the Mayor has listened to our concerns and is setting up a taskforce to look into the impact of Brexit on our borough. Many businesses in our area are dependent on access to the single market, and we have many EU citizens living in the borough who have no idea what will happen to them in the future. I look forward to taking part in the taskforce and ensuring businesses and residents are able to prepare for the impact of the Conservatives’ Hard Brexit.”
Parliamentary spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse Elaine Bagshaw said, “The Council meeting itself was a shambles. Insults thrown back and forth from the opposition and Labour benches. A Speaker totally incapable of controlling the meeting. Opposition “amendments” that were actually just political posturing with no real attempt to amend the budget and make things better for local people. Tower Hamlets needs and deserves a fresh start - a total and clean break with the baggage of the past so that we can build a better borough for local residents.”
Local Liberal Democrat, Elaine Bagshaw, has called on Tower Hamlets Council to protest the Government’s decision to walk away from their commitment to take child refugees from Europe.
Last year, after an outpouring of public support, the Conservative Government was forced to accept an amendment to the Immigration Bill offering sanctuary to vulnerable, lone child refugees trapped in Europe. Less than a year after that decision, only 350 children have been taken in and the scheme is being closed. Local authorities are being blamed for this decision, with the Government pointing to a lack of capacity.
Tower Hamlets Council should make representations to Government for more funding to allow them to host more vulnerable refugee children.
Commenting Liberal Democrats spokesperson, Elaine Bagshaw said:
“Our local council must stand up against the Government’s attempt to pass the buck on their failure to support lone child refugees. Our community wants to welcome unaccompanied children and the Government should be giving local authorities the financial resources needed to enable this.”
Local residents demand John Biggs and Labour keep their promise to protect children’s centres
The Labour Council is planning big cuts to local services. Local Children’s Centres are just one of the things under threat. Councillors increased their salaries by up to 40% last year - yet claim the centres are too expensive.
One in two children in Tower Hamlets grows up in poverty - the highest rate in the country. Tower Hamlets Children’s Centres are an amazing resource for local children. They provide a lifeline to their carers who would be able to gain training and employment. The closure of Children’s Centres and their Satellite Sites will destroy the essential local reach which enables staff to understand the needs of local people.
In their 2015 campaign John Biggs and Labour promised to keep our Children’s Centres open. Make sure they keep their promise to local families. Sign the petition here:
Andrew Cregan, Councillor for Island Gardens ward in Tower Hamlets, has today defected to the Liberal Democrats over Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s support for Brexit. This means Labour lose control of the Council, and it moves to no overall control.
Andrew said: “After much soul searching, I have resigned my membership of the Labour Party in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, where I have served as the Chairman of the Labour Group of Councillors.
I joined the Labour Party as a teenager because I believed in its core values. At the time it was an unambiguously pro-European party, but today that is no longer the case.
I believe that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has taken the Labour Party backwards in many ways, and he has failed to put forward the overwhelming case for remaining in the European Union, both during the referendum campaign and ever since. In doing so he has let down all the people of Britain.
I will have no part of a political party that is acquiescent in taking our country out of the European Union and the Single Market, breaking links with our friends, allies and closest trading partners.
I have today joined the Liberal Democrats as a party that is dedicated to keeping the UK open, tolerant and united. And remains unambiguously pro-European.”
Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, Elaine Bagshaw said: "I'm delighted to welcome Andrew to the Liberal Democrats today. Brexit is one of the biggest threats to the UK there has been in our lifetime, yet Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have forgotten what it means to be an opposition. They are skipping hand in hand off the edge of the Brexit cliff with Theresa May and the Tories.
Tower Hamlets is home to Canary Wharf and a growing technology industry. All of that is under threat from Brexit. Thousands of jobs will be lost if financial services firms have to leave, and a borough that already has nearly 50% of its children growing up in poverty will only see that get worse. Corbyn and the Labour party are being totally complicit in the damage Brexit will wreak on our local area.
I encourage any members of the Labour party who really care about us being open, tolerant and united as a country to join the Liberal Democrats today."
Following Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron's statements in the media this morning, Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrats have joined him in condemning Theresa May's implied support for Trump's ban on Muslims.
Local Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, Elaine Bagshaw, said: "It took hours for Theresa May to say she disagreed with this utter disgrace of a policy, and that was only after significant pressure. Even now, all we have is a weak, mealy-mouthed statement saying she doesn't agree with the policy.
Liberal Democrats across the country have been completely appalled by Trump's actions and the Conservative Government's response. Banning people on the grounds of their Muslim religion, including people who already have Green Cards and refugees fleeing violence in Syria is something we won't stand for. It is Liberal Democrats who are on the side of the people being discriminated against by this atrocious policy."