Tower Hamlets Labour Party comments on PwC Report and Intervention by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

PwC report on the Best Value Inspection of Tower Hamlets Council was released this month. 

In response to the publication of the PwC report into Tower Hamlets, and the intervention by Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles who spoke of corruption in the local council, Rushanara Ali Labour’s MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said:

“Today’s report shines a light on the failure of the local authority to deliver best value for the people of Tower Hamlets. It highlights profound concerns held over the past few years regarding the standards and processes which make up the governance of this administration.

“Public money is at stake, along with public trust and proper accountability. Every community in our country is entitled to the highest standards of probity and honesty in our democracy. No community should have to put up with lower standards of democracy and transparency.

“It is vital that lessons are learned from this report and robust action to rectify these governance failures are taken as a matter of urgency. For too long, accusations of poor governance in our borough have threatened to overshadow the good name of the people Tower Hamlets. This must not be allowed to continue.”

Jim Fitzpatrick Labour’s MP for Poplar and Limehouse, said: 

“This report vindicates our long standing concerns about the Independent Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman. It is shocking that Poplar Town Hall was sold, in a dodgy process, to a member of his campaign team. When things go wrong in local government it is right that government holds them to account, but the cost of this is disproportionate and should not be borne by Tower Hamlets tax payers, who are already paying the price for poor political leadership. 

“Many people will be concerned at the cost of the inspection – likely to be over £1.3 million. Tower Hamlets has the highest child poverty in the UK, and Lutfur Rahman is already proposing to cut nurseries and children’s social services. Tower Hamlets tax payers should not have to pay the costs of this exercise. 

Cllr Rachael Saunders, Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour Group said: 

“Labour demands the highest standards of probity in our elected representatives, and this damning report vindicates the decision to expel Lutfur Rahman from the Labour Party. Councillors in Tower Hamlets have been fighting unjust grants allocations and opaque, rotten decision making since Lutfur Rahman was thrown out of the Labour Party and stood as an “independent” Mayor. Earlier this year we sought to start a recruitment exercise for a Chief Executive – we do not currently have one. Lutfur Rahman has chosen not to co operate. Now PwC has called into question the adequacy of the council’s governance arrangements. It is a cause of sorrow and shame for this great borough that Luftur Rahman as Mayor has taken us to the point of government intervention. He should consider his position. Tower Hamlets deserves better”. 

John Biggs, Labour member of the London Assembly and the Party’s candidate in last May’s Mayoral election in Tower Hamlets said:

“This is a shameful report that shows a disregard for proper, transparent, accountable decision-making by the current administration. If money has been allocated to preferred organisations or areas of the borough then it follows that others have missed out. The Mayor cannot dismiss this damning Report by independent auditors as an attack by his political opponents as he always has done until now. He now has nowhere to hide and should think very carefully about whether his actions are compatible with remaining Mayor.”