'We had no choice': Barking and Dagenham approves council tax hike

Barking Town Hall

Councillors approved Barking and Dagenham's 2022-23 budget - Credit: Ken Mears

Barking and Dagenham Council will be increasing its council tax levels after a hike was approved by councillors.

The authority's 2022-23 budget was given the green light at an Assembly meeting last week.

The council is increasing its share of council tax by 2.99 per cent, with 1pc of that going towards adult social care.

Deputy leader Dominic Twomey said the council had "no choice" but to raise the tax.

"Things are really tough and the last thing we want to do is raise council tax. We’ll continue to do everything we can to create new jobs and grow the local economy."

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.

The Post reported last month that the 2022-23 budget was to be balanced but that 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.

The council is also anticipating a cumulative £26.3m funding gap by the end of 2025-26.

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Cllr Twomey said: "The approach of the council is to provide the support our residents need to help them through these tough times while investing in the future – such as our film studios and attracting new investment, like the three markets of London - to generate growth and prosperity for the benefit of our residents.” 

The council announced that the first in a wave of community hubs offering support to residents will open later this month.

According to the authority, the new hubs will provide benefits and debt advice, access to food and support, jobs and training, family and parenting support and help around health and wellbeing.

Cllr Twomey said: “Our new community hubs will be located in the heart of our communities and will provide the early support our residents need, so we can really support people to tackle problems like growing household debt before they become a bigger problem."

The first three will open in Marks Gate, William Bellamy Children's Centre in Dagenham and Sue Bramley Children's Centre in Barking.

The council said "a network of hubs" will follow later this year.