Newham’s budget proposals set to fight ‘vicious assault’ of coalition

Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, led the council in its continued council tax freeze

Sir Robin Wales, mayor of Newham, led the council in its continued council tax freeze - Credit: Archant

Council members voted to freeze council tax at a cabinet meeting on budget proposals.

Last night at East Ham Town Hall, Newham mayor Sir Robin Wales said he was determined to fight government cuts.

The Labour council aims to save £19million on top of the £113m saved over the last three years while continuing its policy of no council tax increases, which began in 2008.

But the council has agreed the Housing Revenue Account and Rent Increase statements in line with government guidance.

This will mean an average increase, excluding tenant service charges, of 2.2 per cent, which will translate to an average rent increase of £2.12 each week.

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“We are under the most vicious assault we have ever seen from a central government,” Sir Robin said. “It’s an absolute scandal that we’re being asked to cut back.”

He said the demands were deliberately engineered to support Tory areas.

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“Even Thatcher didn’t do this,” he said.

Despite budget pressures, the council also increased the Dedicated Schools Grant by £2.256m to £370.270m and set the Pupil Premium at £28.5m.

Sir Robin said the borough is ahead of others in its ability to provide school places for pupils while saving money.

“We have not had the problems other boroughs have because we have had the places available,” he said. “We need to keep building before pupils arrive.”

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