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Aspire’s Cllr Ohid Ahmed presents A People’s Budget for Tower Hamlets

Aspire Group of Councillors have submitted their fully costed 3-year alternative budget for the borough, concentrating on savings and investments rather than cuts to services. They will move their budget at the borough’s Annual Budget Council meeting tonight at the Town Hall. The proposer, Councillor Ohid Ahmed, Aspire’s Shadow Cabinet Lead for Resources, Policing and Community Safety, commented, “With an election pending, the Biggs administration is walking back from some of its previous cuts, but it is not enough. We know that the Coalition and Conservative government forced austerity measures on the borough, but rather than make them worse, our group believes their effect could be mitigated by our fully costed anti-austerity budget proposal. We invite all councillors to listen to the protests of the people of the borough, and support our budget, which makes sensible savings while protecting jobs and services for them.

Our proposals are in the spirit of the new leadership of the national Labour Party, and we invite councillors to work with us on them, “Aspiring to Serve the Many, Not Save for the Few.”

Aspire questioned the competence of the current administration that spends thousands of pounds putting Biggs’s name and picture on the dustcarts in a borough with the worst rat problem in the country. “Typical, useless spending sidestepping the real issue even as it highlights it,” they comment.

The Group called upon the Biggs Administration to accept that a budget of a thousand cuts is not a cure but a cruel and unusual punishment, and to listen to the people in Whitechapel, instead of out-cutting Whitehall. The Alternative Budget Proposal “Aspire to Serve the Many, Don’t Save for the Few,” is fully costed and is scrutinised by the Section 151 Officer/Corporate Director for Resources at London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It makes savings of over £84 million, so that even after reversing cuts and spending £35 million, there is £45 million for the capital spending, while putting prudently £4.2 million into council reserves to for residents.

The Group’s budget itemizes proposals that together will make Tower Hamlets a better, fairer and prosperous place for the many. It would increase housing, and plant a thousand trees, restore cuts in children and youth services, restore free homecare and burial services and increase the partnership policing to a record 50 officers. But it does include cuts — in allowances for councillors that that have shot up under the Biggs Administration, along with cuts to the vanity publicity for the Mayor and highly paid consultants and contractors that have cost residents over £50m in the last few years.