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Previous Mayor’s Failures Let Local People Down

Many voluntary sector groups were left disappointed that their applications for funding were turned down by the Commissioners appointed by the Government to manage Tower Hamlets Council’s grant making. A total of 368 applications were made for funding under the Main Stream Grants 2015/18 Programme. Funding was agreed by the Commissioners for 131 of these applications at their Decision Making Meeting of 29th July 2015.

 Tower Hamlets Labour Group deeply regrets that these decisions about activities that are vital for so many people in the Borough have ended up being taken by external Commissioners.

 Executive Mayor, John Biggs, has been working hard since his election in June to engage with the Commissioners on the grant making process. However, within the six weeks available before the decisions were made, it was not possible to reverse the consequences of months of inaction by the previous Mayor.

 The Labour Group is very concerned that some community groups will be seriously affected by the failure to agree their funding and, more importantly, that service users will suffer. The Group is determined to develop a strategic approach that will return decisions on grant funding to local democratic control at the earliest opportunity.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “The Commissioners received a huge number of very strong applications – many more than they could fund. The organisations that were selected will add a huge amount of value to the work of the council – and support us to make Tower Hamlets a fairer and more equal place to live.


“However, as Mayor I am unhappy that it is Government appointed Commissioners, who have never stood for election here, rather than myself, working with elected Councillors, who decided this. I don’t want to unnecessarily attack the Commissioners, who I know acted with best intentions but these decisions should be made by locally accountable representatives.  Grant making, when requests exceed the resources available, is always tough. But that’s what we are elected for. “


Deputy Mayor Rachael Saunders said “It is desperately sad that the failures of the previous administration have let so many people down. Many good local organisations lost out, and we will do all we can to support excellent local organisations to find a way forward.”