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Posted on 1 March 2016 at 10:32 GMT

Tower Hamlets: Labour in cloud cuckoo land

Local residents, trade unionists and campaigners turned out to oppose cuts at Tower Hamlets council's budget setting meeting on 24 February. There was a spirited defence of the services Labour's mayor John Biggs proposed to savage, both from the public gallery and from councillors inside the chamber.

Two petitions were presented including one from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) explaining how councillors could use reserves to pass a no-cuts budget.

The Tower Hamlets Independent Group of councillors put forward an amendment to the budget which would have reversed most of the cuts, but it was defeated by Labour's majority.

Labour's response to the reasoned argument of councillors, trade unionists and residents was to accuse them of 'living in fantasy land'. But as their contributions made clear this is exactly where they live. This included the Labour councillor who slammed the 'chaos' of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and then said that Labour would improve it by cutting 200,000 from its funding!

The two large People's Budget meetings organised jointly by TUSC and the Tower Hamlets Independent Group of councillors show there is wide support to build a real alternative to the cuts. We will fight the implementation of these cuts and build support for a mass movement to defend jobs and services.

Naomi Byron

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