Residents First

Tower Hamlets People Network

Local people, campaign groups and trade unionists came together on Wednesday night (5.1.11) to plan a campaign of resistance against cuts in public services. The Con-Dem government has unleashed a savage assault against working class communities. Tower Hamlets Council has seen its share of central government funding slashed by 18%, while leafy shires and suburbs receive much more favourable treatment. In response, the Tower Hamlets Cabinet, under Mayor Lutfur Rahman, has published a draft budget that will mean cuts of £70 million over the next few years, hundreds of job losses, reduced levels of service and selling-off public buildings.

The well-attended meeting at the Labour Party rooms in Bethnal Green agreed a timetable of activities over the coming weeks that will draw attention to how the budget will affect the daily lives of East Enders. Included in the planned cuts are the loss of vital services like Housing Link, that works with families with mental health problems, out of school activities for young people, threats to two adventure playgrounds and reduced levels of care for the elderly and disabled.

The acting-convenor of HOOPS, Alex Kenny (East London Teachers Association) said:

‘It is outrageous that the poor, weak and vulnerable in our society are being expected to pay the price for the financial mess caused by greedy bankers. Students have already shown that they’re not prepared to be the sacrificial lambs and we need to follow their lead. We are determined to fight these cuts in Tower Hamlets”.

HOOPS will be organising a lobby of the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 12th January (5.30 pm at Mulberry Place) and will be holding a series of stalls and leafleting sessions at shopping centres around the borough on Saturday 15th January (from 2pm). On Tuesday 18th January there will be a public meeting in Bethnal Green (Cranbrook estate tenants hall, Mace Street) to which the deputy mayor, Cllr Ohid Ahmed has been invited. Further activities will be organised and announced in the lead-up to the Council’s budget setting meeting on 23rd February.

January 7th, 2011

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