Council tax is rising by five per cent in Barking and Dagenham
- Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images
Council tax is going up by five per cent next month.
The rise was given the green light at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 3.
It forms part of Barking and Dagenham Council's budget spending plans for 2021-22.
Three per cent of the rise is ringfenced to help cover the costs of adult social care.
For an average Band D property, the hike amounts to a weekly increase of £1.23.
Councillor Dominic Twomey, who is in charge of the local authority's coffers, said the decision to raise the tax was not taken lightly.
"Council tax increases are never popular, even less so after the year people have had, but sadly, without further government support in social care, we have no option other than to do this," Cllr Twomey said.
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He hailed the "bold" but "cautious" 2021-22 budget for its focus on growth, adding that Barking and Dagenham is still "open for business".
"We will continue to do everything in our power to protect the most vulnerable through our care services. We will continue to build more truly affordable homes. We will strive to create new jobs," Cllr Twomey added.
The Labour representative for Gascoigne ward contrasted the borough's spending plans to the Conservative government's "smoke and mirrors" budget which was criticised as a "slap in the face" for public sector workers.
And he took aim at housing secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, for backtracking on a pledge to cover the costs of the pandemic.
The town hall calculates spending an extra £55million over the past year in support to people in the borough but with an £11m shortfall in the amount the government has covered.
He said: "We have incurred huge costs. It's a difficult year to come. On the back of 10 years of austerity led cuts, funding for councils has plummeted.
"[The government] talk of levelling up, but they need to get everyone on a firmer footing."
The budget outlines plans to spend more than £3.5m on resurfacing and rebuilding footways and carriageways as well as splashing £150,000 on improving lakes at Valence Park, Mayesbrook Park and Eastbrookend Country Park.
A total of £174m has been earmarked for all council services, including schools, housing, highways and bin collections.