Council tax rise included in budget proposals
- Credit: Sophie Cox
A council tax rise of 2.99 per cent is proposed as part of Barking and Dagenham's budget plans.
The hike includes one per cent for adult social care and it was given the green light by cabinet members at a meeting on Monday night (February 21).
When combined with City Hall's planned 8.8pc increase, the borough's band D residents are set to pay an extra £72 across the year.
In a report on the budget, the council said the Covid pandemic would have financial implications on it "for years to come".
The authority proposes a balanced budget for 2022-23 but the council's chief finance officer Philip Gregory said this was reliant on £2.4m worth of new savings on top of previously undelivered savings.
Deputy leader Cllr Dominic Twomey told the meeting Barking and Dagenham was in an "unenviable position" of having to increase council tax.
He said: "If we chose not to do that, not only would we have to find just short of £2m additional savings from somewhere else, it would almost be an acknowledgement of saying 'our finances are OK, we don't have a problem in adult social care so we don't need your extra one per cent precept'.
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"Frankly neither of those statements are true."
The report said that the highest of the new savings proposed would be £1.5m from parking enforcement income.
It added: "The delivery of agreed savings is essential to deliver a balanced budget for 2022/23 and beyond.
"It remains vitally important that all approved savings are delivered to plan."
Also included in the 2022-23 budget plans are new growth measures totalling £7.1m.
Despite the plans for a balanced budget in the next financial year, the council is anticipating a cumulative £26.3m funding gap by the end of 2025-26.
Cllr Twomey said: "The officers of this council from the very top to the frontline continue to find innovative ways of delivering excellent services for residents.
"But it is becoming more and more difficult delivering gold-quality services on silver-quality money that we have coming in.
"But we will stand up to the challenge."
Cabinet approved the budget, which will now go to assembly for ratification.