The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs delivered his ‘State of the Borough’ speech at a full council meeting this week, highlighting the challenges faced in the borough during the pandemic and praising the way the community has rallied together to help one another.
Mayor Biggs spoke about the huge impact of Covid and how the pandemic has shone a spotlight on existing inequalities and highlighted the importance of well-funded local services, many of which fill in the gaps left by Government austerity for example Tower Hamlets Council funds additional police officers.
Speaking about local services, the Mayor spoke about the difference that the Labour council is making in Tower Hamlets, including through the delivery of new council homes, funding Free School Meals for all primary school children, funding a 100% council tax reduction scheme, the Tackling Poverty Fund, and investing in parks and schools.
The Mayor also hit out at the Conservative Government for holding the borough back, for the Westferry Printworks scandal, over its management of the Covid crisis, and for slashing the council’s budget – since 2010 Tower Hamlets Council has had to save over £200m due to cuts to its budget and increased demands on services.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tower Hamlets has been challenged by the pandemic but I know that we will bounce back. As a community we have risen to the challenge of supporting each other and showing our East End spirit, and we will recover, innovate and thrive and remain a place where people want to live, work and visit.
“The story of opportunity has shaped our history. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh and the great contribution of the Bangladeshi community to the East End. From naming Altab Ali house in Wapping, plans for a mural at Brick Lane and celebrating the Poplar Rates Rebellion and the Matchwomen and Matchgirls, we stand on the shoulders of giants and celebrate this history of a community who stood up for themselves and seized opportunity.”