John Biggs, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, writes about his plans for Covid recovery in Tower Hamlets…
As a community we’ve been hit hard by the pandemic. Life has been very tough for many and we need to get back to business and in particular recognise the hardship that people faced and continue to face.
While we are starting to return to some normality the impact of the pandemic will continue to be felt. The government will shortly be ending the furlough scheme and cutting Universal Credit by £20 a week. As a council we are on your side to help people bounce back and will be with our community through tough times.
I’m investing £3m through my Mayor’s Covid Recovery Fund aimed at kickstarting our recovery with a focus on supporting mental and physical health, children and young people, older people, our local economy, and welfare advice.
Our high streets need a boost. During the pandemic we distributed business rates relief quickly providing a lifeline to small businesses and market traders. Brick Lane has been part pedestrianized as we want to encourage visitors and get people spending money in areas like Banglatown. This is just part of the investment including a new mural to mark the 50th anniversary of independence for Bangladesh and the story of our community in the area.
We will monitor the part-time road closures because I know passions can run high when we do introduce these changes – for some it’s the benefit of outdoor dining, for others an unwelcome change to their journey plans. And as with Brick Lane, we will of course listen on road closures elsewhere.
As your Mayor I’m determined our council is focused on unlocking opportunity for our residents. We’ve seen great A Level and GCSE results and we have fantastic schools but we need to make sure no one in our community is left behind. From providing free school meals so children can learn properly, to getting families into new council homes so kids have a room of their own room to homework we’ll continue to be on your side.
We will work tirelessly to break down barriers so people can achieve their potential whether that’s by supporting our schools, through us delivering 1,000 apprenticeships or helping people into training through our WorkPath scheme.
Opportunity also means tackling inequality, and our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Commission will deliver on its ambitious action plan. We made the case to government about the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our Bangladeshi and Black residents in particular so they need sit up and listen to our needs in the East End.
The East End has often faced huge challenges but we’ve always defeated them. Labour in the Town Hall has a positive vision for our borough and we’ll listen to residents and stand up for our community.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets
The East End has often faced huge challenges but we’ve always defeated them. Labour in the Town Hall has a positive vision for our borough and we’ll listen to residents and stand up for our community. John Biggs