Barking and Dagenham Council leader: 2017 spring budget ‘will not help hard-working families’

Barking and Dagenham Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell

Barking and Dagenham Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell - Credit: Archant

The leader of Barking and Dagenham Council has slammed yesterday’s budget as letting down hard-working families.

Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring budget at the House of Commons included news of an upgraded two per cent growth forecast and £2bn funding for adult social care over three years.

But Cllr Darren Rodwell said this was “simply not enough”.

“Stopping the national social care crisis would require the same amount of money to be invested in just one year, not three,” he said.

He added: “Today’s budget will not benefit residents in Barking and Dagenham. There was absolutely nothing to tackle low pay and it’s clear that government funding cuts will continue to hit the council hard.”

However, Cllr Rodwell said he welcomed the “hard-fought progress” on the London devolution deal announced in the budget.

“Giving London more powers will benefit our borough, as we fight to secure the jobs and investment that we need to move forward after Brexit,” he explained.

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“The chancellor also announced a new funding model for big infrastructure projects in London that will allow them to be built quicker with less reliance on Government funding, so this is certainly something that we will be taking a closer look at.”

But he rejected the main message of the budget, which included a pledge to create 100 additional free schools including a new generation of grammar schools – a move the council has explicitly rejected.

“Overall, the budget will not help hard-working families who are struggling to pay their rent in our borough,” he continued.

“The chancellor may have boasted about a strong economy, but we are seeing none of the benefits of this in Barking and Dagenham.”