Vote Rabina Khan



After growing up in Rochester where my father originally worked at the docks, I moved to Tower Hamlets when I was nineteen, where I have lived ever since.

I was a writer and a broadcaster long before I was involved in politics, and so understand the importance of creativity and culture in working against injustice. In 2003 I published my first novel ­ a children’s book ­ and since then have edited anthologies and produced and advised on a range of media projects, working with organisations such as the BBC, ITV, Heritage, Rich Mix, the Wellcome Trust, Channel 4, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Arts Council.

My particular focus was on challenging perceptions of women and advancing the cause of Muslim women in politics and public affairs. That has given me a sense of solidarity with all those who find themselves marginalised, and for a long time I’ve been a strong advocate for migrants rights, welfare rights, disability rights ­ and for working to end the multilayered structures of prejudice that affect all of us.

I became a councillor for the Shadwell Ward in 2010, and was made Cabinet Member for Housing. In my role I have overseen the creation of 4000+ new affordable homes, more than any other British local authority in that time – including new social housing, community land trusts and bespoke homes for disabled residents. That’s why my primary aim in politics is to tackle London’s dire housing crisis, and as such have been campaigning around the London Living Rent and against government anti-welfare policies such as the hated bedroom tax. I believe firmly that we can make development work for ordinary people. That’s why I’m working on the award-winning Whitechapel Vision which will lead the way in creating places that people want to live, and where they can afford to.

I am proud to hold a Tower Hamlets Civic Award, the Hero of the Year European Diversity Award 2014 and a nomination for the European Muslim Woman of Influence Award in 2009. I am even prouder to have three wonderful children, the eldest who is now at university


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Manifesto Launch Speech

Thank you all so much for giving up your time to be here.

I’m standing here tonight to tell you that we need to start making politics matter.

We’ve just been through the most surprising general election result in a generation.

We have a government that plans to slash the welfare cap once again - despite warnings from the Children’s Society that it will put our kids on the breadline. What’s really upsetting is that they are doing so with the support of the Labour Party.

For Tower Hamlets, where nearly half of our children are below the poverty line, that’s not good enough.

Nor is it good enough that my children’s generation are growing up with sky-high rents, sky-high tuition fees and sky-high living costs. Before the General Election, I remember Nick Clegg talking about helping young people with mortgage deposits. I know young people that are struggling with rental deposits.

Five more years of austerity might be too much for us to bear. Tower Hamlets needs the kind of leadership that can stand up to this government and its plan to pull the rug out from the most vulnerable in our society.

But it also needs the kind of leadership with the experience of redesigning services to get the most out of a reduced budget. I will never use central government cuts as an excuse to cut vital services.

When asked if he would maintain our Mayor’s Education Award - a Labour policy in the first place - my opponent said he couldn’t guarantee anything. The unique support we offer young people has helped make our schools world-class and put us in the top ten for sending people to Russell Group universities in spite of severe deprivation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Under my leadership as cabinet member for housing for the last five years, Tower Hamlets has seen more than 4000 social and affordable homes built – more than any other council in Britain as recognised by central government repeatedly awarding us the highest ‘New Homes Bonus’, some £78M.

We’ve established the landmark £2m Preventing Homelessness Fund, refused to pass on cuts in council tax benefit and said no to Bedroom Tax evictions.

The work the last administration has done is why I’m proud to have been a part of it, and why I’m grateful for the former mayor’s endorsement.

Lutfur Rahman has made clear his intention to appeal. The Spectator’s associate editor, an Anglican canon and a senior law lecturer are among those that agree the judgment was troubling.

I don’t want to dwell on the Election Court judgment here.

I want this conversation to be about the future of our borough.

But I’m not going to pretend there aren’t issues with governance at the Council.

In fact, there are issues predating Lutfur Rahman, possibly even by decades.

That’s why the first thing I will do if elected is sit down with the Secretary of State’s commissioners and work out how they can help me deliver my manifesto and improve the level of service we offer.

I will move beyond the partisan bickering that has run our borough into the ground for far too long, and set out a clear roadmap with all concerned for moving the borough forward.

Transparency and accountability should mean more then turning up at committee meetings to get lectured by other politicians.

Oversight and scrutiny are fundamental, but the best thing we can do for accountability is build a better, more open, more inclusive way of doing politics.

As a mum-of-three, a Muslim woman, and the daughter of an immigrant docker, I’ve often felt as if politics doesn’t speak for me.

That’s not how it should be - our Town Hall politicians should be at the heart of local life, bringing communities together, building bridges, talking to people and standing up for people.

As a councillor I’ve done nearly five hundred home visits and raised three and a half thousand enquiries on behalf of residents.

As a mayor I will keep up that work with People’s Question Time around the borough, more surgeries than any other directly-elected mayor and answering every question the public has for me at Cabinet and Full Council, which will have more space for public participation.

Our politicians should serve the communities they represent.

We want regeneration, but regeneration in the interests of residents.
The award-winning Whitechapel Vision is a model for how it should be done - a regeneration project that doesn’t just bring shops and luxury flats, but decent jobs, affordable homes, community facilities, open spaces, better infrastructure for small businesses and a new Town Hall that will serve as a genuine community hub while keeping a historic building in public hands.

I will build a Tower Hamlets where people are proud to live - with cleaner, greener, safer streets and more school places and GP surgeries.

I will also build a Tower Hamlets where people can afford to live. That means tackling our dire housing crisis head on with more than empty words.

That starts with the five and a half thousand affordable homes I’m pledging, after already having led in creating more affordable homes than any other UK local authority.

And I will always push for genuinely affordable homes, not the 80% of market rate definition that the Mayor of London seems to think is affordable.

I will introduce a rigorous landlord registration scheme to protect private renters, so that the farce of rogue landlords getting away with revenge evictions, neglect and keeping people in squalid homes at sky high rents comes to an end.

And I will protect services for those who need them most.

Female economic inactivity in Tower Hamlets is at nearly half.
Twice as many women as men have lost public sector jobs under austerity.

That’s why I’m prioritising a Women’s Employment Hub alongside more space for childcare, which will help ensure women get their fair share of the support for small businesses, the 20,000 sustainable jobs, the 14,000 training opportunities and the 8,000 London Living Wage apprenticeships that I have pledged.

I will prioritise provision for people with disabilities - including halving the number of people with severe mobility needs on the social housing waiting list, making space for 16-25 years olds with special needs and implementing the Time to Change pledge on mental health.

And I will keep our communities safe by working together. I will take drug dealers off the streets, but will have an approach to crime that aims to understand and rehabilitate rather than simply washing our hands of offenders.

But it can’t all be bread and butter - the East End has a proud, rich and diverse cultural history that should be celebrated and supported.

I’m promising a new cultural strategy to support the arts and our creative industries.

I’m promising East End street parties to bring people together, and community awards to celebrate our living local heroes, as well as a new sports strategy and a new arts and media centre.

My background is in broadcasting and writing - I value the power of creativity to change the world.

The last month’s election result has surprised all of us.

But it has also shown us people like Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood developing progressive politics outside the Westminster bubble.

It’s about politics that’s in touch with communities and listens to people rather than polling data and focus groups.

It’s about politics that’s based on practical solutions to everyday problems.

It’s about politics that recognises the unique and valuable contribution that every single person can bring to the table.

And it’s about politics that never loses sight of a vision for the fairer future and stronger communities we all want to live in.

That’s the Tower Hamlets I want to build.

Thank you


  • Introduce People’s Question Time
  • More time for public questions at full council meetings
  • Work collaboratively with commissioners to deliver my manifesto
  • Work with all stakeholders to build a fair and inclusive council
  • Regular consultations with Trade Unions
  • Work constructively with all political groups
  • Continue to answer questions and petitions at full council and Overview and Scrutiny committee
  • Review council consultants to ensure value for public money
  • Improve Every Voice Matters to enable residents to voice concerns and improve council services
  • Build 5,500 affordable homes with a broad mix of home types
  • Bring Tower Hamlets Homes back into the Council
  • Hold Housing Associations to account and campaign for tougher regulations
  • Deliver Poplar Housing Zone
  • Introduce landlord registration scheme to protect tenants in private rented sector
  • Deliver Project 120 and reduce the number of residents with complex mobility needs on social housing waiting list
  • Deliver new Town Hall at the old Royal London Hospital site to act as a community hub
  • Review and improve key worker scheme
  • Keep council tax frozen
  • Support residents’ campaign against the demolition plans in Holland estate
  • Maximise contributions from property developers for use on new homes, GP surgeries, nurseries, schools, play areas and community facilities
  • Deliver the Whitechapel Vision - 3,500 new homes, 5,000 jobs, 7 new public spaces
  • Continue to tackle welfare reform and oppose Bedroom Tax
  • Develop policy on home extensions and mansard roofs, and manage conservation impact
  • Continue work with Community Land Trusts
  • Cap on major works charges for leaseholders
  • Develop an Enterprise Strategy
  • Set up Mayor’s Employment Board to deliver 20,000 jobs and training opportunities
  • Provide 14,000 training opportunities for residents
  • Create 8,000 new apprenticeships and implement London Living Wage with all partners
  • Introduce Women’s Employment Hub with childcare provision
  • Introduce small business support for local businesses and traders
  • Support local business by making parking more flexible, create more short term parking, reduce yellow lines and introduce grace periods
  • Regenerate Town Centres and introduce Tower Hamlets Card to boost local economy
  • More nursery places for 2 year olds to support parents into work and training
  • Commitment to local businesses - by ensuring 40% of council contracts go to local suppliers
  • Free school meals for primary school pupils
  • Mayor’s Education Award of £400 per year for college students
  • Mayor’s Higher Award of £1500 for university students
  • Continue to improve youth services and offer a wide range of services
  • Increase school places
  • Provide youth career development officer in every youth centre and employ a gangs prevention coordinator for youth service
  • Target interventions to increase attainment levels of pupils especially boys
  • Open new youth centre at the old Haileybury Youth Centre site
  • Address the educational needs of children and young people with special needs aged 16-25
  • Work collaboratively with education providers to support young people
  • Oppose austerity and act on child poverty
  • Develop a new Sports Strategy for the borough
  • Safer streets by improving lighting and CCTV, and continue our relationships with police and other agencies
  • Campaign for better road crossings on accident hot spots
  • Mobile police surgery to target ASB and crime hot spots
  • Mayor’s Community Awards to celebrate Tower Hamlets residents’ achievements
  • Tackle ASB by creating joined task forces for problem areas, increasing number of THEOs to 40 and continue funding 55 police officers
  • Improve 24/7 noise nuisance and ASB service
  • Remove drug dealers from our streets, rehabilitate offenders and support drug users whilst tackling organised crime
  • Prevent violence against women by increasing investment to encourage reporting and provide effective victim support
  • A zero tolerance policy on hate crime
  • Restrict the proliferation of pay day loans and betting shops
  • Increase patrols around parks and playgrounds to ensure safety of our young people
  • Provide more GP surgeries funded from property developers’ contributions to community benefits
  • Invest in lunch clubs and older peoples’ activities
  • Hold accessible diabetes and heart disease screening sessions
  • Oppose government NHS cuts
  • Improve mental health support with a programme for children at school
  • Free home-care for the elderly
  • Implement the Time to Change pledge
  • Support hospice care and deliver multi-faith burial ground
  • Plant 2,000 new trees and increase recycling targets
  • Raise number of estate allotments and planting projects
  • A new public crossing for Bow school
  • Make routes safer for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Protect our parks by continuing to improve them and increase ‘pocket parks’
  • Tackle air pollution by making the borough a No Idling Zone for cars
  • Improve road safety with a 20mph zone
  • Reduce pest control charges
  • Continue free cycle training for adults and school children in the borough
  • Introduce at least 1,000 parking spaces and continue to support families with free parking transfer scheme
  • Review cost of parking permits for residents
  • Review car free developments and permit transfer scheme
  • Cleaner streets – enforce zero tolerance on missed refuse collections
  • Scrap bulk waste collection charges for residents
  • New cultural strategy for the borough
  • Review relationship with Rich Mix cultural centre
  • East End street parties to bring people together
  • Maintain investment in leisure facilities
  • Reopen Poplar Baths and Dame Colet House
  • Protect historic libraries and buildings as assets of community value
  • Open Idea Store in Bethnal Green
  • Continue to support Stairway to Heaven Memorial
  • Develop a new arts and media centre in the borough as part of the Whitechapel Vision
  • Continue to deliver Mayor’s football competition
  • Review the delivery of major events across the borough
  • Support Kobi Nazrul Centre to develop its cultural services for all residents
Download PDF Manifesto


  • Building the most number of affordable homes in the UK and securing £50m New Homes Bonus
  • Campaigning to help residents hit by Bedroom Tax
  • Completed 500 home visits and responded to 3,600 public enquiries
  • Rehoused 1,000 overcrowded families and provided leadership to secure Poplar Housing Zone
  • Championing disability provision
  • Introducing £2m Preventing Homelessness Fund
  • Delivered Bow School and Woolmore Primary School
  • Lead award-wining Ocean Estate social housing and redevelopment project
  • Protected local heritage sites
  • Campaign for Special Educational Needs provision and worked with SAVE Mile End campaign for road safety

We're Backing Rabina


  • ATN Live Debate
    (Election Hustings)


  • Rabina Khan interview

  • BBC London 94.9FM


For immediate release – 15th May 2015

Rabina Khan announces flagship policies for women's empowerment

Independent mayoral candidate Rabina Khan today pledged to fight the female employment gap in Tower Hamlets - where in spite of a record fall in worklessness last year, female economic inactivity remains at nearly 45%.

Rabina Khan has promised a new Women's Employment Hub to offer advice, opportunities and training to women who need support in the labour market, expanding current provision and bringing services under one roof. The new hub would be accessible for all residents, and part of an overall strategy that promises to create 20,000 sustainable jobs, 8,000 Living Wage apprenticeships and train 14,000 residents in the coming years. Khan is the only mayoral candidate pledging as clear a solution to the gender gap in employment.

The majority of parents using nurseries and out-of-school clubs have said that current childcare provision is not flexible enough to suit working life. For this reason Khan has welcomed the government's plans to increase free childcare, but added that they do not go far enough. She has pledged to provide more space and flexibility in childcare, and ensure that council planning is used to create additional places, as well as ensuring the availability of provision is communicated effectively.

Khan has added that strident opposition to austerity is essential to getting a fairer deal for women, who are hit hardest by welfare cuts and the housing crisis. She also reiterated that universal free school meals, college grants and university grants will be maintained, which can save families thousands of pounds a year.

Rabina Khan said,

'Twice as many women have lost jobs as men in the public sector after five years of cuts. Female unemployment is not just something that exists, it's something that is being prolonged and deepened by this Tory government, with Labour offering little different. That's why we in Tower Hamlets need to work doubly hard to ensure that those who are disadvantaged get the helping hand they need.'

Syara Ali, a supporter of Rabina and an IT analyst from the Isle of Dogs, said,

'I support Rabina to be our next independent Mayor because she's committed and passionate about improving employment and enterprise opportunities for women. So much still needs to be done to level the playing field.


For information about this media release please contact the Rabina4Mayor team at

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