Low income families in Newham could see council tax halved under budget proposals

East Ham Town Hall

East Ham Town Hall - Credit: Archant

People on the lowest incomes could see their council tax halved from 2019 if the proposed budget is approved.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales has outlined his plans for the borough’s spending for the next financial year, which will also see grieving families not having to pay burial and cremation charges for under 18s.

The plans, which remain subject to approval by both cabinet and full council, also include care leavers not having to pay council tax until they are 25.

If approved, the Newham element of council tax will be frozen for the 10th consecutive year.

Sir Robin is also recommending that the council refuses the government’s offer to set an adult social care precept of two per cent.

He said: “I am clear that the council’s policy is that our residents should not be saddled with the government’s cuts and austerity and that that includes getting residents to foot the bill for a government social care tax.”

The council has identified £1.171m worth of savings in this year’s budget. Since 2010, it has made cuts of £173.8m, with government funding being cut almost in half during that time.

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But it will contnue to invest in renewing roads, pavements and street lights, pay for 40 additional police officers to deal with anti-social behaviour and free school meals for primary school pupils.

In addition, the council will expand its Every Child programme, pilot a Newham Living Well scheme that aims to deliver a more personalised home care service for older people and fund work on the borough’s tower blocks to make them safer following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Sir Robin said: “I am proposing a radical budget with all of our residents in mind.

“Council services and our most vulnerable residents are prioritised; our part of council tax is frozen for the tenth year in a row and it maintains my commitment to not out-source services.

“I will continue to stand up for residents and make sure they are not bearing the brunt of the Government’s savage cuts.

“But more than making sure our services are protected from cuts this budget proposes investment in areas and new programmes.”

The budget will go before cabinet tomorrow and before full council on Monday.