Council tax freeze

COUNCIL tax will be frozen for the second year in a row but many residents will face a hike in rent, fees and charges. There will be an annual rise in tenant service charges of �10.92, heating and hot water will increase by �63.22 a year and garage rent w

COUNCIL tax will be frozen for the second year in a row but many residents will face a hike in rent, fees and charges.

There will be an annual rise in tenant service charges of �10.92, heating and hot water will increase by �63.22 a year and garage rent will go up by �9.88.

Which means that, under the 2010/11 budget, approved at last week's Assembly, Barking and Dagenham Council tenants will pay an extra �1.28 per week.

The Labour budget will see more than �150m spent on the borough's schools over the next financial year - 6.7 per cent more than last year.


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Around �100m will be invested in major capital programmes, including a swimming pool and leisure centre, a �12m skills centre, a library and one-stop shop, all in Dagenham, and the first new council housing in the borough for 25 years.

Councillors approved plans to fund six new police officers, who will patrol the parks full time.

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They will have all the powers available to a Met Police officer, which will extend beyond the park boundaries.

Proposals to give pensioners free access to all Barking and Dagenham's leisure centres were also rubber stamped.

The move, which will cost the council �165,000, will mean over-60s can swim, use fitness equipment, take part in exercise classes and play racquet sports for nothing.

The changes will apply from next month but the free sessions will not be available on weekday evenings.

Commenting on the 2010/11 budget, council leader Cllr Liam Smith said: "We are determined, even in these tough financial times, to do our best for our pensioners and youngsters and make our parks and green spaces safer still with more Met police on the beat."

Councillors' allowances will also be frozen for the second consecutive year.

They will continue to receive �10,008 a year. Executive members get �17,510 and Cllr Smith gets �22,513.

But it was decided an annual payment of �1,000 will be introduced for the chairman of the Standards Committee and �500 for each of its members, following an increase in their work load.

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