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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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, and we would love to hear any views or questions from you.  

Email Stephen at 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:

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.

Securing the Future of Health and Social Care

For too many years our NHS has not got the investment it needs. While Brexiters claimed that the NHS will get another £350million a week when we leave Europe, this has already been shown up as another cheap con trick from Farage, Johnson and Co. to win the referendum at all costs.

Yes our NHS needs more money and that is why Lib Dem Health spokesperson Norman Lamb has called for honesty and straight talking on the cash crisis facing health and care sector, raising the possibility of an extra penny on a new dedicated NHS and care tax. The proposal builds on Mr. Lamb’s previous calls for the introduction of a separate health and care tax, which would be marked out on people’s payslips.

We can no longer deny that the NHS is facing a financial meltdown with treatment rationed because of tight resources.

That's why the Lib Dem are looking into how we can secure the NHS future - considering a dedicated health and care tax, shown on your pay packet. We need to think about fairness between the generations.

We need a national conversation about what sort of service we are prepared to pay for. We should surely aspire to have a modern, efficient, dynamic NHS and care system which treats mental and physical health equally; which ensures that elderly people and those with disability get kind, generous support which helps to prevent ill health and prevents a deterioration of condition; a health system which delivers the best outcomes for patients.

Lib Dems Say “No” to Change to Grammar Schools in Tower Hamlets

Plans by the Conservatives to reintroduce grammar schools are being opposed by Lib Dems in Tower Hamlets. Elaine Bagshaw, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Poplar & Limehouse, is arguing that they are socially divisive and could lead to children not being able to go to their local school. “The Conservatives want to select children on the basis of their academic abilities at the age of 11,” said Elaine Bagshaw.

“The flip side of identifying some children as a success at a young age means the rest are labelled as failures. They are then sent to schools that will be regarded as the place where the failures go. In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable. We have fantastic schools in our local area that provide a brilliant education without using selection. George Green’s School; Langdon Park and Wapping High School are all fantastic examples of how you can change people’s lives without using selection.

“The reality behind grammar schools is that they predominantly benefit the children of wealthier households. Often however it is the children from lower income families that need the extra resources to boost their life chances. “The education system needs to breed in them self-confidence and ambition. If they are dumped in schools for those marked out as failures at such an early age, their chances of gaining the education and skills they need to make the most of the life chances that come their way are reduced.

“In the Coalition Government, Liberal Democrats introduced the Pupil Premium. This boosted the amount of money a school received for pupils from poorer backgrounds. There was a clear attainment gap between children from low income households and those from well-off homes. The extra money we provided was used to help close that gap. “Now, the Conservatives’ plans for grammar schools - a better education for the few who largely already have good life chances - goes directly against what we did in Government when we set out to raise the standards for all.

“Liberal Democrats will fight any attempt to change existing schools in Tower Hamlets to grammar schools and we will fight plans to introduce new schools here that are selective.” Elaine Bagshaw has welcomed the announcement by Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron MP that the Liberal Democrats will fight the plans for grammar schools in Parliament. As the plans were not included in the Conservatives’ manifesto, they could be rejected completely by the House of Lords where the Conservatives have no majority.

“The Liberal Democrats are the party of education,” said Tim Farron. That means we believe in an excellent education for all, so any plans to bring in more divisive grammar schools will be utterly opposed by us. “The government cannot and will not win on this.”

Wapping residents at the end of their tether over increasing anti-social behaviour

Reports across Wapping of increasing levels of anti-social behaviour are leaving residents at the end of their tether, as there seems to be no end in sight to the problems.  Residents have experienced a significant rise in incidents of intimidation, drug use, car racing and vandalism.

The local Liberal Democrats and organisations such as have collated issues and sent them to the Police, but it isn’t yet making any difference.  At the Police Q&A meeting last week local Lib Dem campaigner Stephen O'Shea raised these issues with the local police. We're urging residents to provide as much evidence as possible to the police to persuade them to target resources to the area, and support calls for CCTV and speed guns.

Please use the non-emergency 101 service to report all anti-social behaviour in Wapping and get us the police support we need.

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