Socialist Worker

Tower Hamlets

by Maggie Falshaw
Issue No. 1929

Oliur Rahman was elected as Respect councillor for the St Dunstan’s & Stepney ward of Tower Hamlets council in east London on 29 July.

Last week he attended his first council meeting.

The council should meet every second month but, due to “insufficient business”, the September meeting was cancelled.

Delegations of tenants, pensioners, school and college students, trade unionists and anti- war protesters were there to present petitions and motions for last week’s meeting. It opened with councillors being asked to state any conflicts of interest.

It took about 15 minutes as hand after hand was raised—mainly to state they were a member of the board of one housing association or another.

Any question signed by five residents can be submitted to the council. They are given three minutes to present their question.

Several questions were submitted in opposition to the selling off of council homes.

There was a question about the closure of a community meeting place.

The questions were generally dismissed by the New Labour leadership of the council.

Oliur submitted a resolution on housing. There was uproar in the public gallery when the mayor put to the vote a Labour amendment which negated this motion.

Councillors rejected a resolution calling for objective information to tenants on the financial options available.

However, the 30 to 17 vote was the first sign of serious dissent among councillors at the undemocratic way Tower Hamlets council is conducting its “Housing Choice” process.

For more on the housing campaign phone THATCH on 020 8981 8386.

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Article information

Sat 27 Nov 2004, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1929
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