5% council tax hike in the offing as town hall counts cost of Covid-19


Barking and Dagenham Council is considering a five per cent hike in council tax. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The town hall is mulling over plans to raise council tax by five per cent in a bid to plug a hole in the borough's finances.

Barking and Dagenham Council's proposal breaks down into a 1.99pc increase on the tax, plus a 3pc increase which would be ring-fenced to pay for adult social care.

In total, this would mean paying an extra £1.23 per week for the average band D property.

Cllr Dominic Twomey. Picture: LBBD

Cllr Dominic Twomey. Picture: LBBD - Credit: Archant

Cllr Dominic Twomey, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, performance and core services, said people have faced the "toughest months" over the past year, but the town hall would continue to do everything it can to support the most vulnerable while delivering essential services.

He added: "Our residents are at the heart of every decision we make and to protect services we have transformed the way the council is run, delivering huge savings."

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The local authority's response to the pandemic has included delivery of food, medicine and support to more than 2,000 vulnerable people; provision of about 250,000 lunches to youngsters and help for more than 6,000 households via food clubs.

Cllr Twomey said the cost of dealing with the virus's impact and lost income is £47million so far.

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He added government grants have helped but not been enough. He says there has been a shortfall of about £10m.

For every £10 available to spend, £7 goes on caring for the most vulnerable people, he explained.

He described the financial hit as "a huge hole" to fill, particularly given austerity and increasing demand on services.

The town hall chief hailed major investments - including the capital's largest film studio as well as the relocation of Billingsgate, New Spitalfields and Smithfield markets to the borough - as promising "huge" benefits.

Savings could also be in the pipeline as the council eyes the possible sale of some of its buildings now more staff work from home.

Comment on the proposals here before January 31.

A Facebook Live Q&A with Cllr Twomey and Cllr Darren Rodwell is on January 28 between 5.15pm – 6pm on the leader's Facebook page.

Email socialmedia@lbbd.gov.uk to submit a question.

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