Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam has today written to the new Chancellor to stand up for residents in Tower Hamlets – and insist our community shouldn’t pay the price for the economic crisis made in Downing Street.
On Monday 17th October, the fourth Chancellor in four months, Jeremy Hunt announced plans to cut public spending following the disastrous mini-budget – with the vital services provided by our local council expected to be in the firing line on 31st October.
Cllr Islam is today writing to the Chancellor to insist that the Conservatives in Downing Street clean up their own mess without hammering families in Tower Hamlets.
In the letter, the Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Group, Cllr Sirajul Islam writes:
“The country faces an economic crisis made in Downing Street.
“The Conservatives’ reckless mini-budget has crashed the economy – and working people in Tower Hamlets are already paying the price. Mortgages are up, rents are rising, prices are soaring and the cost of borrowing has gone through the roof. We are all poorer as a result of that catastrophic mistake, and for what? To pay for unfunded tax cuts for the richest in society. The Bank of England has been forced to intervene, and your party has created a multi-billion pound blackhole in the nation’s finances.
“No one was talking about spending cuts before the Conservatives tanked the British economy.
“None of us voted for this ridiculous failed experiment – and our area shouldn’t be punished for your mistakes. Local services were already under serious strain due to rampant inflation, soaring interest rates, and rising demand. Roads need to be repaired, we have to bring down crime, children need after-school clubs, bins have to be emptied, and streets must be kept clean. We need to build affordable housing, and we need to invest in the support that business needs to thrive.
“Families in Tower Hamlets shouldn’t lose services and support to cover the cost of your incompetence.
“Tower Hamlets Labour is already pressing the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, to take more action to support families through the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis. While you were crashing the economy, we have been fighting to try and get more support and services to the people that need it. Our residents shouldn’t pay the price for your failure.
“Tower Hamlets shouldn’t pay the price for Conservative Incompetence.”
Calling on the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman to join the fight to defend small businesses and working people Tower Hamlets, Cllr Sirajul Islam added:
“Our diverse communities must always comes first. Although Labour has previously proposed an Emergency Budget to tackle the Cost of Living Crisis for vulnerable residents and urgent support packages for small businesses in the borough, you have voted against our proposals time and time again alongside your Aspire Party colleagues.
“This isn’t about politics, this is about a government that has lost control of the economy, and is now eyeing up cuts to our services – support our residents rely on – to cover the costs of an economic crisis made in Downing Street.
“Tower Hamlets shouldn’t pay for their incompetence.”
- The Chancellor warned on 17th October that “All departments will need to redouble their efforts to find savings and some areas of spending will need to be cut”.
- Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said there were no “easy options” and Mr Hunt would still have to make “scary decisions” by either raising taxes or cutting spending in his economic statement on 31st October.
- The Conservative chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) Cllr James Jamieson has warned that councils’ financial sustainability is “already on a cliff-edge” following the Chancellor’s announcement, adding that “the news that government departments have been tasked with identifying efficiency savings from public sector budgets has sent a collective shiver down the spine of local government.”
- The LGA has estimated that increases in the national living wage and higher energy costs had already added at least £2.4bn in extra costs onto the budgets that councils set back in March 2022. Councils will be left with no choice but to spend reserves, stop capital projects, or make cutbacks to services to meet their legal duty to balance the books this year. This funding gap will increase to £3.4bn in 2023/24 and £4.5bn in 2024/25, even before further funding cuts proposed by the Chancellor.