Barking and Dagenham's deputy leader has defended plans to raise council tax by five per cent, saying the authority has "no choice".

Dominic Twomey discussed the proposed hike, which would see the council increase the tax by 3pc with a further 2pc precept for social care.

Cabinet agreed to consult residents on the plan at a meeting on December 13.

READ MORECouncil tax set for 5pc hike in Barking and Dagenham

A council report said the government is assuming councils will use the full council tax rise afforded to them for the next two years.

Cllr Twomey told the meeting he felt it is "unacceptable" to put such a rise on to residents across the country and admitted some people will not be able to afford it.

He said: "We will no doubt have no choice but to make this increase to ensure we can maintain the high levels of support needed for our most vulnerable.

"We will look at finding different ways to support people when they come to us and say 'can't afford to pay this'.

"That is something we are working on and will talk about early next year when we announce our budget."

The council is forecasting a general fund overspend of £16.6m for this financial year and has previously predicted a budget gap of £14.6million over the next four years.

But strategic finance director Philip Gregory said previous "difficult decisions" meant Barking and Dagenham was in a better position compared to some other councils.

"We've taken out a lot from our budgets over the last ten years, other boroughs haven't done that.

"They've prolonged those difficulties and are now having to face what can only be described as cliff edges in terms of looking at their budget for next year."

Cabinet also approved the consultation process for the budget, which will take place in the new year.

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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.

The former said: "I do urge residents to attend these two sessions because it's really important to have your say locally.

"I would just say to residents that we are genuinely interested in your input.

"I'd like to see more people have a say in something that absolutely affects them on their doorstep."

Budget proposals are set to be recommended by cabinet in February before they are formally approved by Assembly.