Barking and Dagenham passes 2020/21 budget which includes four per cent council tax hike
PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 February 2020
The council has passed its budget pledging not to cut services but raising council tax by four per cent.
Councillors in Barking and Dagenham agreed the spending plans at a full council meeting at Barking Town Hall on Wednesday, February 26, describing "mounting pressures" on services against a backdrop of "huge" central government cuts.
The council tax increase means the average family, meaning those in Band D, will pay an extra 95p per week.
Cllr Dominic Twomey, cabinet member for finance, said: "While I'm pleased we're not making any cuts to services in this budget, we still have a huge challenge just to pay for everything we do.
"That's why this year we've had to take the tough decision to increase council tax by 3.99pc. Doing this will raise £2.5million - half of which will go towards paying for everyday council services."
The other half, around £1.25m, will be ringfenced to pay for adult social care.
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Cllr Twomey said that while the sum is a lot of money, the reality is it will only pay for the care needed by 35 adults living with dementia.
"Doing what's right for people is at the heart of every decision we make. Every year, £7 in every £10 of our budget is spent on caring for the most vulnerable people in our community - from children we need to keep safe, to frail elderly residents who need help to remain independent in their homes or with dementia and who need expensive specialised residential care.
"We face a real challenge providing vital services as well as doing everyday things like household bin collections."
Council tax makes up 16pc of the money needed to pay for services, he added.
The Town Hall reports it has been forced to find £162m in savings over the last 10 years.
Cllr Twomey said the council is working more commercially to bring in investment opportunities to boost money coming into the council and borough, meaning that despite the cuts, the local authority is still investing in people's priorities, including "affordable" housing and making the borough cleaner, safer and greener.
The 2020/21 budget also outlines how the council will make a further £12.7m in savings.
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