The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs has warned he is “fearful for the future of our public services” as the new Conservative Government laid out its plans for the next five years in today’s Queen’s Speech.
The Government’s plans follow nearly a decade of Conservative and Lib Dem austerity governments which have hammered public services, including schools, the police, the NHS and local councils. Tower Hamlets Council has already saved £190m since austerity started in 2010, and further government cuts mean that the council has to save an extra £39m by 2023.
The Mayor has warned that the Prime Minister’s election promises may be dropped, demonstrated by the announcement that measures to protect workers’ rights have been dropped from the Brexit Bill, and warns that the future for public services is bleak.
Brand new homelessness figures reveal that the number of homeless children has hit a 13-year high with 127,370 children stuck in temporary accommodation between April and June – the most since spring 2006.
The Labour Party has called on the government to publish the provisional finance settlement for local government (the awarding of funding to local councils, to be approved by the House of Commons) as soon as possible to give local councils time to plan their budgets.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We of course respect the election result. However, we strongly believe that Boris Johnson’s plans for the country fail to recognise the damage that ten years of austerity has done to our NHS, schools, police and local councils. The Tories need to undo the damage they themselves have caused, but as it stands I’m very fearful for the future of our public services. There is an enormous risk that all of their election pledges will simply be cast aside.
“Residents in Tower Hamlets overwhelmingly backed our Labour candidates and as Mayor and Members of Parliament we’ll be working as a strong Labour team for our borough, calling for an end to austerity in our public services and standing up for our constituents together.”