Jamie Hailstone 05 December 2016

'Phased return' of powers to Tower Hamlets

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Tower Hamlets LBC is to gain back control of certain powers as part of a 'phased return' by Sajid Javid.

The communities secretary announced on Friday he was ‘minded’ to give back the power to award grants to community groups to the directly-elected mayor, as well as plans to end the commissioner’s oversight of procurement at an unspecified point in the future.

Mr Javid said he wanted to introduce a ‘phased return’ of powers, but warned he would halt the process if the commissioners raised any further concerns.

‘In the past we had a situation in Tower Hamlets where the former mayor was handing our grants against the advice of its own officers, which an election court later found amounted to the corrupt practice of bribery,’ said Mr Javid.

‘Since commissioners have been in place, root and branch reforms mean I am now minded to start a phased return of grant-making responsibility back to the mayor so these key local decisions can return to those who have been directly elected by local residents.

‘This is a positive first step – but I won’t restore full powers until I can be sure residents’ money is in safe hands and will halt the process if commissioners raise any concerns.’

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