Home / Local news /  Lutfur Rahman launches manifesto for emergency action on living costs

 Lutfur Rahman launches manifesto for emergency action on living costs


Lutfur Rahman, the first elected mayor of Tower Hamlets and Britain’s first elected mayor of colour, has today unveiled his re-election manifesto. The ambitious raft of policy pledges prioritises immediate action on the cost of living crisis in Tower Hamlets, one of Britain’s most unequal local councils.

Key pledges include:

  • Seizing empty homes to turn into social housing for residents as part of a strategy for 4,000 new social homes
  • Use landlord licensing powers to control rent hikes
  • Double council tax on empty property landlords
  • A new Homelessness Fund
  • Freeze council tax
  • A green jobs programme to take carbon out of the air and put money in workers’ pockets
  • A new fund for post-16 students & bursaries for those attending university
  • Universal free schools meals for all primary and secondary school children, including a Marcus Rashford-style food programme for school holidays
  • Take back democratic control of all privatised council services
  • Reopen every youth centre shut under John Biggs’ Labour
  • Reverse cuts to services under John Biggs’ Labour

The manifesto builds on Rahman’s previous firsts as Tower Hamlets mayor, during which the council built more new social housing than any other in England and Wales, became the only council to retain Education Maintenance Allowance for young people, the only council to keep elderly care free, the first council to ban contractors who blacklisted trade unionists, the first council to introduce £1,500 bursaries for every student attending university, and kept all youth clubs, leisure centres, libraries & youth services open in spite of government cuts.

Unveiling the manifesto, Mr Rahman said:

“The cost of food, fuel, and housing is out of control everywhere, but in a borough as unequal as Tower Hamlets, it is nothing short of a social emergency. My first budget will draw on my previous experience of delivery to prioritise protecting residents.”

“John Biggs’ Labour has left us devastatingly underprepared for this new economic crisis. Our local politicians’ infighting, narrow lack of vision, and meek acquiescence to government cuts cannot go on any longer. It’s time for leadership that represents and fights for all our communities in their time of need.”

Lil Collins, Chair of the Aspire Party and former Chair of Tower Hamlets Labour Party, said: “

“As a lifelong resident of Tower Hamlets I know the difference between local leadership that works and that doesn’t.”

“Under Mayor Lutfur Rahman Tower Hamlets went from being a byword for social exclusion to a borough that could aspire: with world-class schools, more new council housing than any other borough in England & Wales, free school meals for every primary school child, and a Living Wage for all council staff.”

“Labour said these things were impossible. But the truth is they are the ones holding Tower Hamlets back. Give us your vote on May 5th and we will involve every resident of this borough in our plan to undo seven years of inaction and failure, tackle the cost of living emergency, and build a Tower Hamlets that can aspire again.”