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Lutfur RahmanMayor's priorities

Mayor's priorities Government cuts and changes to the welfare system have had severe consequences for residents in Tower Hamlets. But, despite the strain that all councils are under of having to deliver more with less, Tower Hamlets continues to push the boundaries of what a local government can achieve for its residents.

Below are my priorities for my second term in office. They are focused on addressing the issues and challenges that residents of Tower Hamlets have told me matter the most to them.

MayorHousing

Housing remains one of my top priorities. Whilst we made much progress in my first term on housing, I am conscious of the further changes that are needed to ensure everyone in Tower Hamlets has a decent standard of living.

There are still so many families who are living in overcrowded accommodation. This is not only unacceptable, but detrimental to resident’s health and children’s education. In my first term, 4,000 new affordable homes were built – the most in the country - and this year I pledge to build another 5,500 affordable homes.

It is all too often that renters feel at the mercy of their landlords, and I want to ensure that Private Sector landlords are fair. That is why I have pledged to create a Landlord Registration Scheme to enable residents to hold their landlords to account in the Private Rent Sector.

MayorYoung people

Our schools have been named amongst the best urban schools in the world due to the commitment in Tower Hamlets to young people and their learning.

I believe that children cannot learn effectively if they are hungry. This is why I have pledged to provide Free School Meals for all children in primary schools to ensure that every child receives a healthy, nutritious meal at school every day.

I am also aware that as students get older, constraints such as travel fees and lunch money sometimes holds them back. I don’t want poverty to be a reason why young people can’t get to school in this borough, which is why I introduced the Mayor’s Education Award (MEA) in 2010 to replace the Education Maintenance Allowance cut by the Coalition government. The Award gives struggling sixth form students an additional £400 a year towards their sixth form and college costs. For students moving on to University, I created the Mayor’s Higher Education Award, which gives additional financial support of up to £1,500 to 400 university students every year. These schemes have proven a huge help to those who are ambitious but struggle financially, and it is my commitment to uphold them throughout my next four years in office.

Jobs and economy

I am committed to getting local people into work and I will be creating a new employment hub which will help 20,000 local people into work, 8,000 new apprenticeships and deliver training for 14,000 residents. The Whitechapel Vision regeneration plan will be providing 5,000 jobs and an additional 3,500 affordable new homes. Our vision for Whitechapel has the chance to turn Tower Hamlets into one of London’s new commercial hubs, and is a great opportunity for our residents. I will also be supporting new local businesses, by ensuring that 50 per cent of council contracts spending is with local businesses.

Cost of living

Cost of Living Welfare reform, unemployment, high inflation and the stagnation in wages have meant that the cost of living for residents has been increasing. I have made it a priority of mine to help residents with their living costs.

My administration has already created a £2.2m Preventing Homelessness Fund to help those affected by the housing benefit cap. I will ensure that that specialist support and advice is available for residents who are affected by the welfare changes. I will also continue to provide Council Tax benefit to the poorest residents.

We will continue to help our residents with their energy bills through Tower Hamlets Energy which has helped save over £100 for residents in my first term.

Community safety

I know that crime and the fear of crime is a concern for our residents. In my first term I introduced Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers (THEOs) and our Partnership Police Force to ensure residents are kept safe. This partnership work has helped reduce crime in the borough and has provided a visible presence in the community when London wide police officers are being cut. Our THEOs have been a great success with residents, establishing rapport and providing a sense of security for many communities. In the next term, we will be continuing our good work with THEOs and making sure that they are available in particular relation to ASB complaints and concerns.

Our “Dealer-a-day” strategy has exceeded its targets with over 1,230 drug dealers arrested last year and £187,384 of drugs seized. I want to step that up, as well as improving partnership with the police to tackle organised crime like drugs and prostitution.

I have also pledged to introduce a Mobile Police Centre, to replace police stations being cut by the Mayor of London and to make it easier for residents to report crime. I also invested over £2m in delivering the Violence against Women and Girls Strategy and supporting victims of domestic abuse. I promise to keep the focus on improving prevention, education, reporting and victim support so that women and girls do not live in fear.

MayorCleanliness

I want us to continue our work to achieve a clean borough. We have made significant steps by work together. Our recycling rates have increased from 19 per cent to 26.5 per cent, a successful bid for funding means Victoria Park will benefit from an investment of £4.55m. I want to ensure our streets, parks and open spaces are clean and tidy so that people can take pride in the area where they live. 

 

Mayor

Caring for the elderly

Tower Hamlets remains the only borough to provide free homecare for the elderly, and I will continue to ensure that homecare remains free in this borough.

I am also aware of the issue of loneliness and isolation amongst the older residents in our borough. I have pledged to continue to work on tackling this issue, particularly through my commitment to lunch clubs. Lunch clubs provide a vital service for our older residents, not just providing a hot meal but also a place to socialise and access support services. I have also committed to four tea dances a year so that older people have the opportunity to meet up every once in a while to have a good time.

We also understand that elderly residents want to stay in their homes as long as possible; I will help residents get the care they need on their own terms, I’ll increase investment in reablement and our telecare service.

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