Newham council tax will rise by five per cent next month

Labour has criticised the six-month reprieve for companies on gender pay gap reporting

Newham is raising council tax by five per cent. - Credit: PA

Council tax is rising by five per cent from next month.

The town hall's budget spending plan, which includes the hike, was given the thumbs-up by members of Newham Council at a meeting on Monday, March 1.

Three per cent of the rise is ringfenced for adult social care. A Band C property council tax bill will see an £3.89 increase per month.

Cllr Terry Paul, who is in charge of the council's coffers, hailed it as a budget for residents which will provide help for the vulnerable and show Newham cares.

"We are protecting our residents. We are supporting our households," Cllr Paul said.

He added the authority continues to invest in a council tax reduction scheme to help the neediest households and the level is among London's lowest.

Cllr Paul slammed "savage" austerity cuts and the "short-changing" of town halls. He accused the government of back-tracking on a pledge to cover the costs of the pandemic.

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"Government has not provided the sums we need to provide for our residents and protect against Covid," he said.

In total, Newham has spent £82million dealing with the pandemic with the government providing £62m. Austerity has left the council £200m worse off since 2010.

Cllr Zulfiqar Ali said: "This government has left us with no choice so we can fund much needed social care."

His Labour Party colleague, Cllr Suga Thekkeppurayil, asked why people in Newham weren't being given some respite from council tax and parking charges.

He also challenged Cllr Paul over Newham's £40m backing of a deal to turn London Stadium into West Ham United's home. This was struck during Sir Robin Wales's administration.

An independent report published in 2018 criticised the London Stadium deal for throwing public money "down the drain". 

Cllr Stephen Brayshaw asked how much return the council received from the investment.

Cllr Paul admitted it was not the town hall's "greatest" investment, but his role is to focus on the future, not the past.

Cllr Dr Rohit Dasgupta added: "This council is not spending money on vanity projects like stadiums."

Cllr Thekkeppurayil also criticised the town hall for failing to challenge Sadiq Khan over plans to build a tunnel from Greenwich to Silvertown.

Cllr Daniel Blaney argued councillors had been robust in their opposition to the tunnel.