Full reopening of schools, the 2021/22 budget and vaccinations for unpaid carers

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Newsletter banner 2020

A message from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets banner

This week I’m pleased to report that over 40,000 residents have now had the Covid-19 vaccine in Tower Hamlets. When you are contacted to get yours please take up the offer as it will keep us all safe.

As this is rolled out and the first stage of the government’s roadmap begins, with schools reopening to more pupils from Monday, we see some hope ahead. However, it’s really important we don’t take our eye off the ball at this time and maintain the basics of hands, face and space and getting a Covid test. It is only by doing this that we will ‘unlock’ the next stages.

Yesterday we passed the council’s budget. It is not normally a page-turner, but this year it is set in a particularly serious context. We spoke to 2,000 residents and businesses as part of our budget consultation. They told us, with the backdrop of this year’s Covid crisis, that they wanted us to prioritise improving public health, making our community safer and investing in services for vulnerable children and adults. And this is what we have done.

This is however the toughest budget I have had to present as pandemic pressures have been compounded by years of funding cuts. We have had to make savings of over £200m since 2010 and we now need to save an extra £30m by 2024. But we are proud to continue to support the key frontline services our residents rely on, to tackle poverty and protect our most vulnerable residents. I have also announced a new £3m Covid-19 recovery fund that will help so many people who are struggling in our borough.

This year’s council budget will:

  • Set up a new Covid-19 Recovery Fund to kickstart our community’s recovery and support those who have been most affected.
  • Help to deliver 2,000 council homes and thousands of new affordable homes.
  • Protect free school meals for all primary school pupils.
  • Fund additional police officers to make our streets safer.
  • Offer low income households up to a 100% discount on their council tax.
  • Help to tackle the climate emergency and clean up our air.
  • Maintain our award-winning parks and Children’s Centres.
  • Invest in our Voluntary and Community Sector who will be vital in our recovery.

The past year has tested us all. It has put strains upon our community we could never have imagined only twelve months ago. But we will come out stronger. This is a budget which sets us up for that.

This budget puts fairness at the heart of our recovery, it protects vital frontline services and invests to build a brighter future for our borough.

Stay safe,

Mayor Biggs

Budget proposals

A budget that puts fairness at the heart of the recovery

At a time where the impact of Covid-19 has touched the lives of everyone in the borough, Tower Hamlets Council has agreed its budget to invest in homes and frontline services and to protect the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

Our budget includes:

  • £3million to fund free school meals for all primary school children.
  • Additional funding for police officers and our council run anti-social behaviour services.
  • Ongoing funding for the tackling poverty programme for our most vulnerable residents.
  • Ongoing plans to deliver 2000 new council homes and more affordable housing.
  • Creating a new £3million Covid-19 recovery plan.
  • Protected funding for the borough’s 12 Children’s Centres.
  • A 100% council tax discount for the poorest in our community, one of the most generous council tax reduction schemes in the country.
  • Ongoing support including grant funding for the local voluntary and community sector.
  • Significant funding for adult social care services.
  • Investment in our award-winning parks, and schemes to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency.
  • Investing over £35m in public health.
  • Major investment in future growth via ongoing £395m capital funding for new schools, bridges, and improved community facilities.

Read more about the budget >

Photo of a man receiving a Covid-19 vaccination at Granby Hall

See inside a Covid-19 vaccination clinic at Granby Hall

A pop-up vaccination clinic was set up in Granby Hall to support as many people as possible to access the Covid-19 vaccine.

More than 60 eligible people were given their vaccine in the community setting, which has strong links with our Somali community. Both male and female vaccinators were on-site in order to meet any cultural needs of residents, and Bengali and Somali interpreters were available throughout the day.

Watch now >

Back to school poster image

Full reopening of schools from 8 March

Face-to-face classroom learning for all schoolchildren in Tower Hamlets will begin again from Monday 8 March.

Our schools are safe and all set for the return of every child. They are the best place to support your child’s learning, life-chances and wellbeing.

Visit our website for the latest information or speak directly to your child’s school.

More information >

Women in hard hats and masks working in construction

Celebrate International Women’s Week

A specially focused International Women’s Week celebration from this Saturday 6 March to Friday 12 March will bring women’s groups and community organisations across Tower Hamlets together to host activities following this year’s theme: ‘Women: Identity, Crisis, Future’.

The week forms part of events including exhibitions, discussions, sports sessions, and celebrations hosted by Tower Hamlets Council along with community organisation Alternative Arts to mark Women's History Month this March.

Find an event >

Photo of a woman receiving a Covid-19 vaccine

Covid-19 vaccinations for unpaid carers

Is there someone that depends on you? Are you an unpaid carer?

We are reaching out to all unpaid carers who either receive or are eligible for carers allowance, or provide close contact personal care to someone vulnerable to Covid-19 as part of priority group 6 for Covid-19 vaccination. We’re working with our partner Carers Centre Tower Hamlets to register unpaid carers on behalf of NHS England, who will send out invites to anyone who is eligible.

Register now >

Photograph of Robert Milligan statue taken by Tubantia - own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Have your say on the future of the Robert Milligan statue

The Canal & River Trust are consulting on the future of the Robert Milligan statue and plinth, which was removed from its location in the London Docklands last year.

They are seeking local views on what should happen to the statue and remaining plinth and how best to talk about the areas historical relationship to slavery, including how to tell the story of Robert Milligan’s statue. The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 23 April.

Share your views >

Domestic abuse service Ask for ANI poster

New scheme to support domestic violence victims

A new scheme – Ask for ANI (Action Needed Immediately) - has been launched to help as many domestic abuse victims as possible, especially at the moment when they could be stuck in lockdown with a perpetrator. 

Developed by the Home Office, it provides a discreet way for victims of domestic abuse to signal that they need emergency help from the safety of participating pharmacies (including all Boots stores).

Read more >

Schoolchildren working at a desk

Secondary Schools transfer appeal process 

Throughout March, the Tower Hamlets Transition Service will be hosting online information meetings for parents and carers about the secondary school transfer appeal process.

Dates and times vary:

  • Monday 8 March, 10am - 11am
  • Wednesday 10 March, 6pm - 7pm
  • Friday 12 March, 10am - 11am
  • Monday 15 March, 1pm - 2pm
  • Friday 19 March, 10am - 11am
  • Monday 22 March, 6pm - 7pm
  • Wednesday 24 March, 10am - 11am

Sign up to attend >

A map of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Share your views on tall buildings

We are developing a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to guide and influence the design and planning of tall buildings across the borough.

We want your input and ideas as the council develops what will be an important policy project via an online survey and online consultation workshops.

Take the survey >

Useful links

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