At Tower Hamlets Council’s Annual General Meeting last night Mayor John Biggs delivered his ‘State of the Borough’ speech. The Mayor, who recently marked one year since the re-election of his Labour administration, reflected on the journey of improvement the council has been on. Over the past four years the council has been transformed after the discredited administration of the former mayor.
Cllr Victoria Obaze becomes the new Speaker and the first black woman as speaker of Tower Hamlets. Mohammed Ahbab Hossain becomes the new Deputy Speaker.
Mayor Biggs announced that Cllr Sabina Akhtar, a Stepney Green ward councillor, has been appointed as Cabinet Member for Culture, Arts and Brexit. Cllr Akhtar was previously the first female Bangladeshi speaker of Tower Hamlets. Cllr Amina Ali moves to become Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing.
In the ‘State of the Borough’ debate at the AGM the Mayor reflected on how politics in the UK is in crisis. From Brexit chaos to climate change he said the public are crying out for answers and set out the achievements of his administration in making progress.
He highlighted achievements including making good progress towards delivering 2,000 new council homes, getting over 1,100 people into jobs last year through WorkPath, getting hundreds of drug dealers off the streets through Operation Continuum and cleaning up the streets. He also spoke about new initiatives to tackle poverty and clean up the borough’s air quality.
Mayor Biggs attacked the government for its policy of austerity which means core funding from government is £148m or 64% less compared with 2010, but said through hard work his administration has protected frontline council services including keeping all Idea Stores and Libraries, gyms and leisure centres, parks and children’s centres open despite major cuts to council funding.
Mayor John Biggs said: “One year on from my re-election my State of the Borough speech set out how far we’ve come. I’m looking forward to working with my Cabinet to deliver our ambitious manifesto to make Tower Hamlets a cleaner, safer and fairer borough’.
“My warmest congratulations go to Councillor Victoria Obaze on her election as Speaker of the Council, to Councillor Mohammed Ahbab Hossain on his election as Deputy Speaker.”