In 2010, Lutfur Rahman became Britain’s first Muslim mayor and was re-elected in the 2014 elections as the mayor of Tower Hamlets in East London. A report commissioned by the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, found the borough of Tower Hamlets ‘was not delivering best value for the taxpayer’ and there have been calls for the mayor to resign.
In April 2015, he was removed as mayor after a judge found him guilty of some dubious judges which Lutfur Rahman is expected to appeal.
Lutfur Rahman is not perfect and he is not free from making mistakes, neither are any other politicians. In 2013, Eric Pickles got himself into a pickle when it was discovered that the communities department had spent almost £60,000 on biscuits, sandwiches, tea and coffee.
As a Tower Hamlets resident, I have seen noticeable improvements in the borough under mayor Lutfur Rahman and here are 5 things he has achieved which I believe demonstrate his competency as a mayor and is an indication of value for money being delivered to the tax payer:
1. Home Sweet Home
Anyone who knows anything about Tower Hamlets or any other borough in East London will know of the shortage of homes available for social accommodation and the ever increasing cost of renting privately. Lutfur Rahman and his team have built 4,000 affordable homes – the most in the UK and is continuing to build homes to meet the housing demand.
2. Education, Education, Education
GCSE and A-level results have improved under Lutfur Rahman and are now above the national average. The mayor grants up to £400 a year for every college student and also £1,500 for every University student. Tower Hamlets’ schools have been named as the best inner city schools in the world. Now that’s a great achievement!
3. Can I Have Some More Please?
Lutfur Rahman’s administration introduced free school meals for all reception and year 1 pupils. After the government adopted this scheme nationally, Lutfur Rahman has extended free school meals for all Primary school pupils for the next two years. That means more free yummy food for little Oliver for the rest of his Primary school days.
4. You Don’t Have to Be Batman to Fight Crime
Since 2010 Lutfur Rahman’s administration has funded 55 extra police officers at a cost of £2.2m and 1,230 drug dealers have been arrested with £187,384 worth of drugs seized. That’s a lot of bad guys off the streets. Batman would be proud.
5. Care for the Elderly
And finally, Tower Hamlets is the only UK Council to provide free Home Care for its elderly residents at a cost of £17m a year. Super.
Has Lutfur Rahman failed Tower Hamlets? You decide.
By Muhammad Rafiq