This election you have a choice between taking the borough forwards with strong leadership and a positive vision for Tower Hamlets – or a return to the chaos and disruption of the past. I urge you to look carefully at our record and what we have promised. Only I can offer the leadership to continue the progress we have made to make Tower Hamlets an even better place to live.
Under my leadership we have seen real progress. Delivering 2,000 council homes and thousands more affordable homes, delivering strong school results and getting people into jobs and training through WorkPath, protecting Free School meals and our Council Tax Reduction in the face of Tory austerity and keeping council funded police officers on the beat as well as getting drug dealers behind bars by working with the police. We’ve also protected the frontline services you rely on from Ideas Stores and Libraries, children’s centres, gyms and leisure centres and we have invested in our award-winning parks.
I’ve had the privilege of serving this borough as an elected representative, in one role or another, for over 30 years. It has been the greatest honour of my life. We are the best borough in London and I’m very proud of our community that stands united regardless of religion, ethnicity, or class – truly one Tower Hamlets.
Being Mayor requires strong, serious leadership for a borough of over 300,000 people and an annual budget of hundreds of millions of pounds. I have spent many years cleaning up the mess left by the former Mayor. Through challenging times from the pandemic, cost of living crisis and ongoing Tory austerity – we have stood shoulder to shoulder with our community.
We don’t need a return to Mayor who dragged Tower Hamlets’ name through the mud and who led to the council to having its powers taking away – with us all as council taxpayers forced to foot the bill which ran into millions. He didn’t answer questions in council meetings when he was Mayor. He was struck off as a solicitor. He has never accepted any blame for what he did. The Election Court found him guilty of ‘corrupt and illegal practices’ and the judge in that case said ‘He was not truthful. He has proved himself almost pathologically incapable of giving a straight answer’.
Under Lutfur Rahman we have seen a cynical and secretive administration, always blaming someone else when something is wrong. This is not leadership; it is the politics of victim hood. And it’s not honest. We need a Mayor that has the confidence and strength to answer questions.
Let’s not forget the previous Mayor left vulnerable families in Bed and Breakfast accommodation for longer than the legal limit, he charged expensive council rents which I have reduced to genuine ‘social’ rents. He boasted about his youth service but in reality many so-called ‘youth centres’ weren’t open and there was limited provision for girls. He was more interested in inflating numbers for leaflets when the reality was quite different.
Our Voluntary and Community Sector is another example where the former Mayor left a real mess. Auditors found irregularities with organisations that didn’t even apply for funding receiving it. We have sorted that out so public money does the most good in our community and delivers for residents and importantly we have protected our investment whereas most other boroughs have cut this.
Tower Hamlets faces a choice to either stay in the political mainstream or turning away to look inwards with a party based around one man. We need a strong team that reflects our diverse and talented borough which our Labour candidates represent. We will continue to work with our local Labour MPs Rushanara Ali and Apsana Begum and the Labour Mayor of London. Our community needs this united team to face up to the challenges of continued austerity and fight our corner.
Under my leadership we’ve reached out working with other key partners and used the office of Mayor to bring together other public services, businesses and our Voluntary and Community Sector to really get to grips with the issues our residents face. We have frozen the council’s portion of council tax this year to help residents with the cost of living.
From removing a statue of a slave trader to setting up an ambitious Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Inequalities Commission we have shown our values are ones of fairness. We stood up to the government and won when they tried to do a cosy deal with developers and deny our community millions of pounds for services.
We are on your side.
While the borough is changing we also think it’s important we protect and celebrate our heritage and have refurbished the Bangla Town arch, and also as part of the Bangladesh 50th celebrations unveiled a mural, named buildings after important community figures, and paid for Bangla signage at Whitechapel station.
My manifesto has an ambitious plan to help our community recover from the pandemic. We’ll get 5,000 residents into jobs or training as well as creating 1,250 apprenticeships. We will also deliver another 4,500 affordable homes.
I’m working hard for every vote. Let’s not turn back the clock and put Tower Hamlets in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Let’s instead focus on getting the job done to make Tower Hamlets a cleaner, safer and fairer borough. I want to unlock opportunity for all, help residents with the cost of living crisis and ensure the best start in life for our young people. No matter what your background our borough is a place where people can improve their lives.
Let’s continue to move Tower Hamlets forward, together.