Yup. Tower Hamlets council has received £78,818,000 in coronavirus grant funding up to 3rd August 2020, the highest amount of any London borough, according to data published by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Of this £73,975,000 has been distributed to 5,086 of the 5,222 organisations / businesses eligible.
Problem is nobody knows exactly where the money was spent.
Were the special PPE masks the Council ordered for councillors with ‘Keep Tower Hamlets Safe’ printed on them that expensive? We hope not.
Coronavirus grant funding to London councils
|Local Authority||Initial Allocation||Number In scope for grant||Number of grant payments made||Value of payments (£)|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||£49,208,000||3,146||2,646||£44,745,000|
|Barking & Dagenham||£26,938,000||2,291||1,963||£25,210,000|
Anyone seen £74m knocking around?
The market traders certainly did not get their proper allocation for disruption of business.
We have yet to hear of any third sector organisations such as Neighbours in Poplar getting any financial help from Tower Hamlets council to feed those in need of a hot meal.
Moley has repeatedly asked for a breakdown of the how the coronavirus money was spent and has yet to receive a reply.
Tower Hamlets Conservatives have also asked. No reply.
There was more transparency under Lutfur Rahman than there currently is at @TowerHamletsNow
Try submitting an FOI request and see how long you are kept waiting for a response. https://t.co/2yg6tgrY4h
— TH Conservatives (@THConservatives) August 6, 2020
Cllr. Andrew Wood (Independent, Canary Wharf) has been asking since 27th April. No response.
27th April I asked for detail of COVID budget impact, still waiting for an answer
23rd June – similar request rejected
2nd July – submitted FOI asking for COVID costs, still waiting for an answer
27th July – submitted O&S question about COVID costs, still waiting for an answer
— Andrew Wood (@Andrewwood17) August 6, 2020
Moley has heard rumours that between £7m – £8.5m was ‘redirected’ by LBTH to fill a financial hole in the accounts of one council directorate to make the books look a bit better, but that still leaves £65m to be accounted for.
Odd thing is that during the week LBTH released a media statement begging the government to honour its Covid-19 funding promise. In part this read “…as a result of the growing Covid-19 financial black hole, extra budget gaps mean that through its medium term financial strategy, the council needs to find an extra £60m by the end of the financial year 2023 – 24.”
Huh? Can’t account for the highest amount of money paid out to any council in London but desperate to get another load of cash?
Maybe Tower Hamlets Labour should have got receipts for the money they have already spent? It does seem to have been treating the coronavirus funding as petty cash.
Not transparent, not open
Mayor Biggs made much of his aim of making Tower Hamlets council a ‘beacon council’ that would shine a light on the path of open and transparent local government after getting elected post-Rahman.
Which was of course complete and utter bollocks. We know ‘cos we fell for it to.
Problem Mayor Biggs has now is that nobody trusts a word either he or anyone in his administrations says.
It may well be that every penny of the governments £78,818,000 coronavirus funding given to LBTH has been spent in a manner so fiscally prudent that the Governor of the Bank of England will be popping around to Mulberry Place for some financial tips.
If so what’s the problem with publishing details of where the money went?
EEE has asked for the data to be published in the same manner as the Payments to Suppliers data councils have to publish by law. Any payment over £500 is itemised.
We are not holding our breath until that happens. Instead we are analysing 10 years worth of Payment to Suppliers data that has been published because Moley is on the trail of something very interesting indeed.