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Residents face a bigger council tax bill next year

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 November 2018

Clrr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, performance and core services. Picture credit: Sophie Morton.

Clrr Dominic Twomey is the deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, performance and core services. Picture credit: Sophie Morton.

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Residents face a council tax increase of almost three per cent in the town hall’s freshly drawn up budget proposals.

Under the plans revealed by Barking and Dagenham Council today, households face a 2.99pc increase in their bills from April next year which will raise an addition £1.8million into the town hall’s coffers.

However the council is being forced to make £50m of cuts next year to plug the gap left by a decrease in government funding.

Councillor Dominic Twomey, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, performance and core services, said that the government is making it ‘increasingly difficult’ to ‘balance the books’ but they are trying to protect key services.

He said: “Over the last four years, we’ve transformed the way the council is run to make savings and we’ve used our very limited reserves responsibly. However, the challenges continue for local authorities across the country – and Barking and Dagenham is no exception.

“This year’s budget is not about cuts; it’s about protecting what we have. Local people remain at the heart of the tough decisions we make, and with increasing demand on our adult and children’s social care, it’s important that we take these steps now to safeguard frontline services.”

The proposed council tax increase includes a one pc precept worth £600,000 that will be ring-fenced to provide support for the borough’s most vulnerable residents.

Cllr Twomey added: “There are lots of misconceptions about council tax and what it funds. The truth is, it helps to support many more services other than bin collections and highways repairs, like social care for our most vulnerable residents.

“That said, council tax still only covers around 15pc of the funding we need to cover costs, so we are working hard to act more commercially and secure investment opportunities that help boost funding coming in to the council.”

The council will launch a public consultation into the plans next week which include an online form and a forum at Barking Learning Centre on November 22 and on November 28 at Dagenham Library.

For more details visit lbbd.gov.uk.

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