Barking and Dagenham residents could see their council tax go up five per cent under plans revealed by the council.

Cabinet members are being recommended to consult on the authority increasing the tax by 3pc, with an extra 2pc precept for social care.

The issue will be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday (December 13).

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The proposed hike comes in the context of the council facing a £14.6million budget gap it needs to plug over the next four years.

In the short-term, a council report by strategic finance director Philip Gregory said it is forecasting the deficit to be £17.7m in 2023-24.

It said: "This position exemplifies the issues facing local government where funding is reducing and demand for services and statutory requirements continue to grow.

"The budget presented for approval in spring 2023 will need to include radical changes to service delivery in order to set a balanced budget with no funding gap."

Mr Gregory wrote that savings and growth proposals to cut the gap will be included in the council's medium term financial strategy, to be published early next year.

The council is also looking to find new investment opportunities "to secure financial sustainability and deliver regeneration for the borough".

The authority's latest update on its 2022/23 general fund budget set out a predicted overspend of £13.6m.

The document said this was being driven by cost pressures such as the potential local government pay award and increasing social care costs.

The overspend can be covered by its budget support reserve but Mr Gregory admits this "would deplete the reserve, increasing the risk in future years".

The report said: "The position will continue to be closely monitored and risks and opportunities recognised as soon as certain."

When asked for comment on the reason for the council tax rise and what support was on offer to residents, the council did not respond.

Deputy leader Cllr Dominic Twomey told last month's cabinet meeting the authority was not overspending.

"We're spending what's required in my opinion," he said.

"We have made efficiencies and savings and I'm sure there are some areas where we can always find a little bit more.

"But we're spending, as far as I'm concerned, what is required."

If approved by cabinet, an online consultation on the council's budget will take place in the new year.

Cllr Twomey and council leader Darren Rodwell will speak to residents via a Facebook Live video on Thursday, January 26 and face-to-face events are earmarked at Barking Learning Centre and Dagenham Library in January.

Cabinet is then set to recommend budget proposals in February before they are formally approved by Assembly.

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