Newham considering five per cent council tax hike to help cover cost of Covid-19

Town hall chiefs are considering proposals to hike council tax by five per cent and introducing a green garden waste charge.

Town hall chiefs are considering proposals to hike council tax by five per cent and introducing a green garden waste charge. Picture: LBN - Credit: Archant

Town hall chiefs are considering a council tax hike of five per cent next year.

The proposal is among several including charging for green waste collections and changing the cap on adult social care fees.

Cabinet members agreed to Newham’s 2021/22 budget in a Newham Council meeting on Tuesday, December 1, blaming cuts, increasing costs and Covid-19.

Cllr Terry Paul, cabinet member for finance and corporate services, said: “The reality is that the government’s repeated failure to adequately fund local authorities has seen us have to make savings of around a quarter of a billion from our budget during the past decade.

“Wherever possible, we are making back office cuts but it is simply not possible to lose that level of funding and still continue to provide the same level of services.

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“However, unprecedented times call for bold answers. That’s why our budget proposals show how we will invest the income we do have in projects that will make a real difference to our residents’ quality of life,” he added.

Further proposals include investing £169million in new council homes; £70m to improve existing council homes; £36m to create new school places; maintaining weekly bin collections and keeping Newham’s 10 libraries open.

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Protecting the council tax support scheme, which guarantees support for low income households who are unable to pay the charge, is also included.

Mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have spent tens of millions of pounds protecting and supporting our communities – from bringing homeless people off the streets, to offering grants to individuals and businesses impacted by the virus.

“I am so proud of the work we have done to help Newham’s people. We have supported residents through these hard times, and our budget shows how we will continue to support them in hard times to come.

“With the impact of the pandemic and the effect of a decade of government cuts, there’s no doubt that we’ve had to make some difficult decisions. But I hope that people will see in our proposals a budget with their best interests at its heart.”

The proposals will be subject to public consultation before coming before full council for a final decision due in February 2021.

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