Tower Hamlets

MQT on 2014-11-19
Session date: 
November 19, 2014
Question By: 
Andrew Boff
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Given Tower Hamlets receives funding from the GLA and TfL, is the Mayor concerned by the recent PWC report on the allocation of monies by the council and can he assure us that steps have been taken to ensure that the GLA's money has been allocated appropriately?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Tower Hamlets

Answer for Tower Hamlets

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, thanks very much, Andrew.  I share your concerns and indeed the Government’s concerns.  Democracy must be done and it must be seen to be done.  It is important that the commissioners whom the Secretary of State has directed to go into Tower Hamlets should be given every possible support.  They should not be vilified and abused.  It is very important that we should get to the bottom of what has or has not gone on.  That is the reason for supporting what Eric Pickles [Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government] has directed.


Andrew Boff AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  However, you have a particular concern with regard to the funding that comes from this building, which amounts, as I can see, to about £6 million.  Will you ensure that there is a review or taskforce allocated to ensure that this £6 million has been properly spent according to the specifications on that grant money?


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  We will be taking steps to ensure that all GLA resources that go to Tower Hamlets are properly spent.  Obviously there are matters of serious concern.  It will be no secret to anybody here.  This must be done in a calm and rational way.  It was most unfortunate the other day that my predecessor seemed to invite people to find the homes of these commissioners and said, “Make their lives intolerable”.  Here is what he said, “When these commissioners turn up, find out where they live and then have a peaceful demonstration outside their homes so their neighbours know that these are the sort of people who turn out and overturn a democratically elected Mayor.  Make their lives intolerable.  Fight them.  Expose them.  Make certain everybody knows that they are doing”. 


I do not think that was the kind of language that the Labour Party would want to associate itself with.  I wonder whether the Labour Assembly Members might now like to dissociate themselves from their former Leader.


Tony Arbour AM:  I assume the meeting was after lunch.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I do not know whether the meeting was after lunch or not.


Len Duvall AM:  If you suspend the time I am more than willing to confirm what the Mayor said.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  No, we will not suspend your time for it. 


Len Duvall AM:  Then our nods will have to be--


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Thank you, Len.


Len Duvall AM:  We concur --


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  I am sure that will be appreciated by those commissioners and the people who are tasked with getting to the bottom of what has gone on in Tower Hamlets.


Roger Evans AM (Chairman):  Any more supplementaries?


Andrew Boff AM:  Just very quickly, Mr Mayor, I am still not getting quite what I want, which is an instruction from you to ensure that there is a review of GLA funds allocated to Tower Hamlets and how that has been spent.  That is what I am looking for from you.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, we are looking at all the spending, particularly the Decent Homes money.  We are asking for an independent auditor’s report, along with the annual statement of grant use.


Andrew Boff AM:  That is what I am looking for.  Thank you very much, Mr Mayor.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  No problem.