So, err, how does this work then Giles?

Tower Hamlets is, at the same time, one of the richest and one of the poorest parts of Britain. It has the highest rate of child poverty in the country and yet the average salary of those who work in the borough is £58,000, the second highest in the UK after the City of London. This is a place where many kids sleep six to a room yet the borough has an economy worth more than £6bn a year, higher than places such as Malta or Monaco. We were told by the Thatcherites of the 80s that wealth would trickle down.

Tower Hamlets is proof positive that it doesn\’t. If anything, it flows the other way. Have a walk around Bow and Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. Then go to the great glass towers of Canary Wharf, still in the borough but in all other ways another world completely. No, wealth is sucked upwards, it doesn\’t trickle down.

The poor in Tower Hamlets are sending money to those bankers how? I\’m afraid I can\’t see the mechanism.

A typical City deal would be something like listing a Kazakh miner. Or an Indonesian coal miner. Perhaps arranging a bond issue for a Swiss company. Just how is it that a poor person in Tower Hamlets is passing wealth upwards to the bankers in doing that?

Doesn\’t seem to work, does it?

15 thoughts on “So, err, how does this work then Giles?”

  1. Bethnal Green? A friend knows a family there. Dad made a heap on property development and pissed off abroad (Bangladesh? Israel? … Guess if you want to.) leaving Mum (who speaks no English and has never had a job) and the large parcel of children living off the welfare state.

    Depending on how you do the sums, that family is either well off or poor. Or both.

  2. Having vast amounts of social housing a stones throw from the richest business area in the continent is probably the most inefficient use of land I have ever come across. Meanwhile most of the highly paid city workers, cannot afford to live anywhere close to their work.

    There is no trickle down, because the vast spending power of the City workforce bypasses the local poor on their way to affordable suburbs every evening.

  3. The Huguenots started there as well, and every subsequent wave of immigration.

    A bit rich to expect immigrants to be rich. If they were, they wouldn’t have emigrated.

  4. From the piece:

    “Later, over lunch at the wonderful Bloom’s restaurant, I shared my irritation with a colleague. ”

    Didn’t that close 2 years ago? Can anyone help?

    I’ve asked Father Giles via Twitter.

  5. If the locals had massive mortgages on shoeboxes then he might have a point. Most of Giles’ baby seals won’t though, as they wouldn’t be of interest to him if they were boring and bourgeois.

    How much wealth trickles from Hampstead and Highgate to Tottenham?

  6. “Serf // Nov 3, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Having vast amounts of social housing a stones throw from the richest business area in the continent is probably the most inefficient use of land I have ever come across. Meanwhile most of the highly paid city workers, cannot afford to live anywhere close to their work.

    There is no trickle down, because the vast spending power of the City workforce bypasses the local poor on their way to affordable suburbs every evening.

    I agree.
    Although why we are importing large number of pedophile worshippers is a mystery to me.
    I recently went to Colombia a country with many problems but where security on airports gives the impression that Islam doesn’t exist (it barely does in Colombia – something we should learn from).

  7. When I was a volunteer helper (one evening a week) at St Botolph’s Centre I was “earning” – being paid – more than the Archbishop of Canterbury and, unlike Giles Fraser, reckoned I couldn’t afford to eat at Bloom’s.

  8. Blooms? Went years ago, along with Tubby Isaac’s. Certainly more than 4 because I was going to treat a shiksa to a meal there & she said it had.

  9. The reason there’s no ‘trickle down’ is because there’s nothing going in the other direction to enable it. I did a lot of work that way few years back doing flash pads for those £58k+ earners. My family come from round there. Grandad, Mum’s side, was a docker.
    No point going into a lot of shops. You wouldn’t find anyone speaks English. Any money comes into the Bangla community, the surplus isn’t recycled into the wider economy. It’s remitted back to Asia. People talk about the area being ‘colonised’. It isn’t It’s occupied territory.

  10. Done quite a lot of work there, providing flash pads for those pushing the average salary up to that £58k. Family actually originate from there. My maternal grandfather was a docker.
    The reason there’s no wealth trickling down is there’s nothing whatsoever going in the other direction. There’s just an enclave of Bangladesh just to the east of the City tries to have as little to do with the host nation as it can manage. There’s shops you couldn’t buy anything from because you can’t find anyone in them speaks a word of English. There’s blocks of flats without a single white person in them.* The money that does get into the community from outside isn’t recycled back into the wider economy. The surplus is transferred back to Bangladesh. The six to a room stuff’s** because that’s the occupation density back home. Give them a bigger place, they’d simply get more people in to fill the space. The area’s not been colonised. Colonisation implies at least some desire for interaction with the outside community. It’s occupied territory.

    *Theoretically, this shouldn’t be possible with public sector housing. Originally it was mostly tenanted by what you’d call the indigenous community. Not necessarily Anglo S. Tower Hamlets has always been pretty diverse. But locals. Housing allocations should work on waiting lists/need so the ethnicity balance of the incomers would reflect the ethnicity balance of the leavers. But once the Banglas got themselves established in the council at both representative & officer level the system was gamed to take over whole blocks. Went to one some years ago with a bloke drop some stuff off at his mum’s. Poor old girl, last white woman in a flat halfway up. Everything taped to keep the stink out. As you went upstairs you were stepping over rolled sleeping pads & women sitting on the steps, picking through rice. They don’t move to let you past, either. Level of hostility certainly made me understand why the bloke put a bar in his coat & lent me one to match it. Old girl had been there since the war. Wouldn’t be pushed out. Died there I gather.

  11. (Sorry about that. Second post was underway when the power cut, here. First was because I couldn’t be bothered about re-doing the original, which apparently was still cached somewhere.)

    **A lot of the time, that’s a straight ploy. Public sector has occupancy limits. (Actually, so does all housing). Ordinary course of events, if a tenant had that many in the place it would breach the tenancy agreement & be grounds for eviction. There’s all sorts of scams being done. No-body knows for sure who’s who, whose kids are whose. Everyone seems to have riffs on the 3 basic names. And no-one’s asking questions anyway. Family gets rehoused due to overcrowding. then the same family gets rehoused from somewhere else for the same reason. There’s individuals have strings of public housing tenancies they control, obtained like this.

    Further east, Dagenham way, there’s ethnic groups the housing people won’t put in areas. The locals burn them out to stop the above happening. One reason, I personally, can’t get too excited about the BNP. Seems entirely rational behaviour.

    Oh & as no doubt someone will pick up on the username. No it isn’t the same down here. Expats bring a lot of money to the Costa Fortuna. OK, there’s some running businesses here but the flow of dosh is out to the locals. Without the expats, Andalucia’d be what it always was. The shit end of Spain. There’s bugger all to do here in this near desert but olives,fishing & banditry

  12. I thought it trickled down through the Post Office or directly into people’s back accounts. A bloody lot trickles out of my bank account via direct transfer to the taxperson.

  13. I’ve lived in Tower Hamlets, Mile End, and Southwark, while working in the City. It’s not a lack of affordable (by City standards) accommodation that makes City boys commute from Putney.

    As to the witter about Bangladeshis having nothing to do with the host nation: who do you think runs the restaurants on Brick Lane?

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