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Freeze on Council Tax to stay as Newham Council approves budget

PUBLISHED: 12:07 25 February 2014 | UPDATED: 17:47 25 February 2014

East Ham Town Hall  Picture: Steve Poston

East Ham Town Hall Picture: Steve Poston

Archant

The future of the borough’s finances was decided last night as Newham Council approved the budget for the next year.

The budget was approved unanimously by the council at a meeting on February 24, with 41 votes in favour of adopting the budget, none against and no abstentions - although some councillors were absent.

The plans include a freeze on Council Tax for the sixth year in a row, with properties in Band D paying £945.63.

The council said this means Newham has the lowest Council Tax in outer London.

Protesters from Newham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition demonstrated outside East Ham Town Hall, calling for the council to do more to oppose government cuts and to help people being forced to move out of Newham.

The group’s chants could be heard inside the council chamber during Mayor Sir Robin Wales’s speech formally proposing the budget to the council.

Sir Robin said: “We remain under the cosh from savage reductions in funding from the government, but we remain committed to protecting the services that residents say are important to them, and that change people’s lives for the better.”

Other measures included £5million for the council’s Workplace employment scheme, which the council says has helped 20,000 residents into work since 2007 and 5,000 in the last two years, and money for council funded policemen to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The budget also featured Newham’s Every Child Programme, which provides universal free school meals for all primary school age children.

Sir Robin added: “Keeping Council Tax at the same level for six years and funding programmes like universal free school meals puts money back in the pockets of our hardworking residents.”

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