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Tower Hamlets 4pc council tax rise agreed by Mayor Biggs’ cabinet

PUBLISHED: 11:20 03 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 February 2016

Tower Hamlets Council and (inset) Mayor John Biggs

Tower Hamlets Council and (inset) Mayor John Biggs

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The detailed budget plans to raise Council Tax by four per cent in London’s deprived East End were agreed last night at Tower Hamlets council’s cabinet meeting.

Mayor John Biggs now submits the proposals for the increase to the full council on February 24.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John BiggsTower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs

“No one wants to see Council Tax rises,” he said.

“But we need to find a way of funding the services that are most important.

“We are committed to providing local services despite wider austerity challenges.

“This budget aims to help more people into jobs and reduce inequality across the East End.”

Tower HamletsTower Hamlets

His proposals set out a budget that he says tackles funding reductions from the government, while keeping key local services going.

His Labour administration’s draft budget includes funding ways to tackle anti-social behaviour, improving street cleansing services, meeting the costs of increased demand for waste services and investing more cash in adult social care.

Half the four per cent Council Tax increase would include funds to cover some of the adult social care services, resulting from cuts in Whitehall funding, the Mayor points out.

The draft budget takes account of public feedback from a series of open forums, the most recent being two weeks ago at Whitechapel.

The feedback has led to scrapping plans to reduce or stop Sunday opening at library and Idea Stores to save £93,000.

A proposal to reduce corporate match-funding by £246,000 has also been dropped, so that it can be used to lever in more funding for the East End.

A saving of £241,000 from the Day Services for Older People will only go ahead once an alternative has been found for those affected, the Mayor promises.

John Biggs steps down as the London Assembly’s budget chairman and as its City & East London member in May. He has been on the Assembly for Labour since 2000, but now concentrates full time on his roll at Tower Hamlets after winning the re-run election for mayor in June.

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